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Her Royal Highness the Princess of Waives. 
Origiftal drawing by Holland Tringham, By special permission of H,RM. the Princess of WaUs, 









** A largess universal^ like the sun^ 
His lideral eye doth give to every one.** 





[All Rights Reserved'^ 


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(^^ ^nns-.^x. 




FEBRUARY 24, 1833 





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Charles Dickens once remarked that Prefaces, though 
seldom read, were continually written; chiefly, he con- 
jectured, for the benefit of posterity. 

Yet the few who do glance at these compositions have 
probably noticed the half-apologetic tone often pervading 
them, some authors considering it necessary to explain at 
considerable length why their books were written at all. 

There is, however, a certain kind of topic, so indis- 
putably popular, as to require no literary " apologia pro 
vita sua," even though the pen that writes thereon be a 
£adtering one. 

With such a subject — Marlborough House and its illus- 
trious inmates — it has been my privilege to deal in the 
following pages, whose contents will, I feel confident, com- 
mend themselves, by virtue of their inherent national 
interest, to every loyal person throughout Her Majestj^s 
wide dominions. 

I have respectfully to thank His Royal Highness, the 
Prince of Wales, for his kindness in permitting drawings 
and photographs of Marlborough House to be taken for 
this work ; and H. I. M. the Empress Frederick of 
Germany — ^always the Patroness of Literature — for her 
gracious assistance. 

I have also to tender my thanks to His Highness, Prince 
Edward of Saxe- Weimar, K.P., for much interesting in- 
formation respecting Queen Adelaide; to General H« 
Lynedoch Gardiner, C.B. for many particulars relating to 

/^* Digitized by Google 


Prince Leopold's occupancy of Marlborough House; to 
His Grace, the Duke of Marlborough, for permitting the 
records at Blenheim Palace to be examined ; and to His 
Grace, the Duke of Wellington, for allowing the original 
sketch of his illustrious ancestor's funeral car to be re- 

I desire to acknowledge my indebtedness in various 
ways to Sir Horace Rumbold, Bart, K.C.M.G., H.M.'s 
Minister Plenipotentiary at the Hague; to the Hon. 
F. C. B. Ponsonby Fane, K.C.B.; to J. Taylor, Esq., 
C.B., of H.M.'s Office of Public Works ; to H.M.'s Com- 
missioners of Woods and Forests ; to Francis H. Miller, 
Esq., Superintendent of the Roysl Victoria Yard, Dept- 
ford ; to H. C. Maxwell Lyte, Esq., C.B., Deputy Keeper 
of the Public Record Office, and his obliging secretary, 
James J. Cartwright, Esq. ; to Dr. Richard Gamett, C.B., 
Keeper of Printed Books at the British Museum ; to the 
Astronomer Royal, Greenwich Observatory ; and, lastly, 
to my wife, whose secretarial services have been invaluable. 



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The Entrance and Approach from Pall Mall — The OfiSces 
— ^The KLitchen— The Stables — The Grounds and Garden i 


The Large Drawmg Room — ^The Indian Room — ^The 
Studio, or Painting Room — The Tapestry Room — ^The 
Staircases — ^The Entrance Hall — ^The Equerry's Room 
— ^The Room of the Ladies-in-Waiting .... 25 


The Royal Household Dining Room — ^The Basement — 
The Plate Room— The Saloon— The Prince and Prin- 
cess's Warrant .Hol4ers ., 44 


The Large Dining Room — The Derby Day Dmner at 
Marlborough House • 60 


The Princess's Reception Room, Boudoir, Bedroom 
and Dressing Room — Music at Marlborough House . 71 


The Prince's Dressing Room and Ante Roomp^-The 
Prince's .Private Sitting Room — The Royal Visitors' 
Rooms — ^The Young Princesses' Rooms — Miss Knollys' 
Room— The Fire at Marlborough House, 1865— The 
Top Floor • • • . 89 


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How Marlborough House was Settled upon the Prince 
of Wales — The Household and Domestic Arrange- 
ments — ^The Princess's Household «... 105 

The Home Life of the Royal Family at Marlborough 
House — Sketches of some of the Household Officials 120 

Notable Balls, F^tes and Garden Parties at Marlborough 

House • . . • • 141 

Some Notable Dinners at Marlborough House — Some 
Remarlcable PageSmts in Pall Mall . . . .164 

Personal Characteristics and Anecdotes of the Prince and 

Princess of Wales 180 

Some Interesting Ghosts round and about Marlborough 
House — A Glance at Pall Mall, and a vision of its dim 
Past 205 


Facts Historical, Antiquarian, and Architectural concerning 
Marlborough House — Modern Alterations and Additions, 
and a suggested New Site for Marlborough House . . 224 


The Duke of Wellington's Funeral Car at Marlborough House — 
The Vernon Collection at Marlborough House . . 247 


Past Occupants : — Prince Leopold 259 


Past Occupants : — Queen Adelaide 282 

Past Occupants : — ^The First Duke and Duchess of Marl- 
borough — Conclusion 298 


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JULY STH 1893 160 









Note. — ^The Photographs of Marlborough House have been taken by 
Mr. W. E. Gray, 92, Queen's Road, Bayswater, W. 


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As the heavy gates at the entrance to Marlborough 
House swing back with much clatter to allow some 
vehicle to emerge into Pall Mall, passers-by natu- 
rally pause, in their desire to obtain a peep at the 
Prince of Wales' London residence. But all they 
can see is a narrow carriage-drive, appcu-ently ter- 
minating a little way down near a plain red brick 
building ; a pavement on the left, edged with dwarf 
shrubs ; and a solitary gas-lamp projecting from an 
angle of the lofty building adjoining. If quick to 
observe, they may also perceive that the roadway 
is bounded on the right by the rear of a low 
building, commonly supposed to be in some way 
connected with the German Chapel, or Marl- 
borough House, but which is really independent 


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2 Marlborough House. 

of either, being the dwelling-place of the park 
gatekeeper, and the St. James' Palace turn* 

At the side of one of the sentry-boxes flanking 
the entrance gates, where all the year round the 
Queen's Guards keep watch and ward, is a door 
kept ajar by a leathern strap, and so ponderous that 
considerable dexterity is required to push it back 
and enter with any sort of dignity. 

Once within, a gate-porter, clad in Royal livery — 
urbane, but befittingly conscious of his responsible 
position — issues from a curious little lodge behind 
the door, and asks the nature of your business ; or, 
in the event of his temporary absence, one of the 
numerous policemen always on duty, comes forward 
and attends to you. Should you desire to enter 
your name in the Visitors' Book, you are politely 
shown into a small room close by, where, in a sub- 
stantial volume lying open upon the table, you add 
your signature to that of many other callers. But, 
if bound for the Comptroller of the Household's 
department, you are at once directed to the plain 
red-brick building before mentioned. If you are a 
perfect stranger, however, you are probably ushered 
into the office of Police-sergeant Payn, by whom 
you are closely questioned, and — all being satis- 
factory — are permitted to proceed, when you quickly 
discover that the carriage-drive does not end as it 
appeared to do, but turning sharp* to the left, passes 
a stone and brick screen, and, by way of a tolerably 


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Marlborough House. 3 

spacious quadrangle, terminates at the porte-cochere 
of Marlborough House. 

This quadrangle is formed by the main building, 
its various offices, and the unsightly backs of sundry 
clubs in Pall Mall, Terra-cotta boxes of antique 
design filled with dwarf rhododendrons, mask the 
base of the walls, and five shapely bay trees in 
lai^e wooden boxes stand like sentinels in front of 
the porch. 

The business offices are arranged upon an ex- 
cellent system, and are pervaded by a refined, 
reposeful atmosphere, only disturbed by a certain 
element of expectation on the part of the visitor, 
who knows that at any moment he may come across 
the Prince or some of the higher officials. 

Two courteous messengers, Gwillim and Bruce, 
have charge of the ante-room, where several com- 
missionaires are also in attendance. There the 
letters, telegrams and parcels constantly arriving 
and being despatched are dealt with, and all 
enquiries are first made. 

A corridor with tesselated floor, and walls adorned 
with some fine engravings after Landseer — dogs 
and deer that can hardly be looked at without 
instantly recalling the soft breeze of the moors and 
the scent of the heather — overlooks, from its five 
windows, the courtyard, and gives access on the 
left to a small room, where Mr. E. Bryant, the 
junior clerk, has under his care one of Remington s 
improved type-writing machines, fitted to what is 



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4 Marlborough House. 

called a " drop cabinet," an arrangement enabling 
it to be lowered quite out of sight when not in use, 
and converted into a writing-desk. 

Adjoining is a comfortable apartment furnished 
with every appliance for writing, where are many 
ponderous ledgers for the entry of departmental 
transactions. Along the walls are oaken presses, 
wherein documents of all kinds are carefully filed, 
while framed illuminated addresses to the Prince 
of Wales from various Masonic Lodges look down 
upon the person of Mr. G. D. Long, who, under 
Lord Suffield, has clerical charge of all pertaining 
to the Royal stables. 

Then comes a cosy waiting-room, and beyond it 
— across the ante-room — the sanctum of Mr. F. 
Morgan Bryant, private secretary to Sir Dighton 
Probyn, and chief clerk in these offices, upon whom 
devolves the great responsibility of ** keeping the 
books." And here I may remark that the oldest 
established City firm can hardly surpass the exacti- 
tude and method with which every transaction is 
recorded at Marlborough House. So well is the 
indexing arranged, that at a few minutes* notice any 
letter or paper relating to years back can be pro- 
duced, and this is what few counting-houses with the 
best of systems can boast of. Behind Mr. Bryant's 
writing-table hangs R. Caton Woodville's well- 
known Jubilee picture of the Prince and Princess 
of Wales. Everything is in absolute order, and 
should his Royal Highness make an unexpected 


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Marlborough House. 5 

descent into these regions, his clerical staflf are 
ready for him. 

There are clerks and clerks! — from the highly- 
favoured official at the Treasury or Foreign Office, 
who sits in a gorgeous apartment overlooking the 
park — ^the Clarence Bulbul of Thackeray's imagining 
— rejoicing in a salary of ;^2,goo a year and 
residing at South Kensington or Belgravia, down 
to the City drudge at ;^i a week, living at Cam- 
berwell or Hoxton. But the clerks at Buckingham 
Palace, Windsor Castle and Marlborough House 
are a class by themselves. The utmost discretion 
and fidelity are required of them, and never do 
they betray their trust Facts and circumstances 
of the highest moment pass to their knowledge, 
most inadvisable to disclose or even hint at ; and, in 
spite of the " pumping " to which they are subjected 
by relatives and friends, they steadfastly resist the 
temptation to talk of the sayings and doings of 
Royalty. Their periods of service are always long 
as, once duly installed, they seldom or never 
leave save from failing health. Thus, Mr. Bask- 
comb, who lately retired, had been twenty-one years 
at Marlborough House, while Mr. Bryant took 
office in 1879. 

Sir Francis KnoUys* room is next to Mr. 
Bryant's, and just across the passage, by way of 
the corridor in the main building, is the apartment 
where the Comptroller of the Household reigns 
supreme. It is some 30 ft. in length, and not 


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6 Marlborough House. 

unlike the " parlour " of a first-class bank. From 
Its windows can be easily noted the arrivals and 
departures at the main entrance, and its occupant is 
in instant communication not only with the office 
by means of a labyrinth of speaking-tubes, but with 
His Royal Highness, who has in his sitting-room a 
moveable frame about a foot long, containing six 
or eight electric buttons, with the names of such 
personages as the Comptroller, etc., etc., in- 
scribed thereon, whom he can summon in an 
instant. This convenient arrangement can be 
carried from one part of the room to another and 
the Princess is provided with a similar apparatus. 
Mcirlborough House is now connected with the 
general system of Post Office telephones — a great 
convenience ; and the rooms of the Prince and 
Princess of Wales, Sir Dighton Probyn, Sir F. 
KnoUys, and the House-Steward, are also in direct 
communication one with another by means of the 
switch-board in the messengers' room. 

To the Comptroller's room the Prince often 
comes to discuss important matters with Sir Francis 
KnoUys and Sir Dighton Probyn. It is par 
excellence the business - room of Marlborough 
House, and if its walls could speak, their revela- 
tions would be of deepest interest. Like the other 
offices, it is comfortably furnished, for use and not 
for show. 

A large block of plain bricks and mortar facing 
the offices across the quadrangle, is devoted to the 


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Marlborough House. 7 

domestic department of Marlborough House, where 
first in size and importance comes the lofty kitchen 
— 35 X 25 feet — ^fitted with every modern appliance 
and convenience. There is only one kitchen, 
conveniently situated, however ; in this respect, 
unlike the culina at Buckingham Palace, whence 
the various dishes have to be conveyed a distance 
of nearly a quarter of a mile before they arrive at 
the Queen s private apartment on the north side, 
necessitating the use of charcoal-heated hot-closets, 
which are placed outside Her Majesty's dining- 

At Marlborough House it is highly interesting 
to take a peep at the culinary department when 
some grand banquet is in course of preparation. 
Passing from the main building down a flight of 
steps and through swinging glass doors, the kitchen 
is reached, where at the farther end is a large fire- 
place with spits whose capacity for holding joints 
seems unlimited. On one side of the range is a 
huge oven, and on the other a splendid gas-grill 
with bars that, by means of a lever, can instantly 
be raised or lowered. Occupying the centre of the 
room is a spacious oaken table, whereon one sees 
sundry saddles of lamb being prepared for the 
ordeal by fire. In another apartment are arranged 
the most tempting-looking dainties — chaudfroid of 
ortolans, quails, yf/^/^ de truite, etc., etc.; and in the 
confectionery room, some -lovely composition in 
sugar, clear as crystal, and pervaded by an exquisite 


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8 Marlborough House. 

shade of green, reminding one of some beautiful 
production of Salviati. 

At the rear of the kitchen, the domestic offices 
extend eastward, and afford space for several larders, 
china and confectionery rooms, steward's offices, etc., 
in short, for every convenience required in the 
running of a large establishment 

Separated by a narrow passage leading into the 
garden, are the stables. They were built by 
Messrs. G. Smith and Co. from Sir James Penne- 
thorne's design, in the year 1859, at a cost of 
;^2 5,000, under one of the provisions of the Act of 
Settlement of Marlborough House upon the Prince 
of Wales in 1850, whereby it was enacted that Her 
Majesty's Commissioners of Woods and Forests 
should — subject to the direction of the Treasury — 
provide suitable coach-houses and stables on ground 
belonging to Marlborough House, and for that pur- 
pose should apply out of the proceeds, arising from 
the sale of the old stables and coach-houses formerly 
belonging to Carlton Palace, a sum not exceeding 

Considerable correspondence passed between the 
Treasury, the Woods and Forests, and the Prince's 
representative, as to the exact disposal of these old 
materials. But eventually, as this proposed arrange- 
ment proved inconvenient, the sum of ;^2,ioo was 
paid over to the Prince of Wales in lieu, and 
accepted in full satisfaction, of his claim under the 


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Marlborough House. 9 

These stables stood at the back of the present 
County Council offices in Spring Gardens, in what 
was called Carlton Ride, and were not pulled down 
until the year 1862, the southern boundary wall of 
the ride, and a porter's lodge on the south side of it, 
remaining until 1865. 

On the site of the present mews stood a fine 
riding-school belonging to George, Duke of Marl- 
borough, which, in a plan of 1 784 attached to the 
surveyors report on Marlborough House, appears 
as standing at right angles to the present kitchen 
wing, and extending to the north-east 231 feet. 
It was 43 feet wide — commodious as the one 
at Buckingham Palace. 

Although on a scale necessarily inferior to Her 
Majesty's stables in London or Windsor, those of 
the Prince are fairly spacious, considering the area 
available. About forty or fifty horses are kept here 
during the season, with perhaps a dozen or more at 
Mason's Yard, Duke Street. Space being restricted, 
most of the animals have to be accommodated on 
a floor above the coach-houses, to which access is 
easily obtained by an inclined roadway. There are, 
of course, permanent quarters for the coachmen, 
grooms, etc., where all that can add to their health 
and comfort is considered. 

In front of the building is a quadrangle covered 
over with glass, shaded in summer by striped 
awnings, where the various carriages are got ready 
for use, and undergo a thorough cleaning after their 


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lo Marlborough House. 

excursions in town. Coming and going as they are 
throughout the day, and often far into the night, 
neither men nor horses have much idle time on their 

The state-coach, used only on the grandest 
occasions, has a compartment to itself, and is 
almost exactly like the Queen's, except that the 
arms emblazoned thereon are those of the Prince 
of Wales and not of the Sovereign. It has nearly 
the same amount of gilding and rich fringe on the 
hammer-cloth, which said '* bravery," if wetted by 
a shower of rain, entails no little labour upon the 

Amongst the most interesting carriages is the 
" Russian,*' a gift from the late Czar. Somewhat 
resembling a sociable, it is roomy and comfort- 
able, and lined with dark blue morocco. It is 
rather a favourite vehicle at Marlborough House, 
and has sometimes been seen in the Park. Then 
there is the Prince s brougham — a skilful production 
of Hooper's — fac-simile of one of Paris manufacture 
formerly used by His Royal Highness and given by 
him to the Duke of York after the death of the Duke 
of Clarence. In its way the British-built brougham 
is quite a gem, lined with dark blue — as are most of 
the carriages, either in cloth, morocco, or silk rep— 
and contains a small clock, as well as every con- 
venience that the heart of the most confirmed 
smoker could desire. It has a simple and effective 
means of communicating with the driver, super- 


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Marlborough House. ii 

seding a somewhat complicated electrical apparatus 
which the Prince did not care about; and incan- 
descent lamps are used for illuminating purposes, 
Not to be overlooked is the pretty Victoria once 
so frequently observed in the "drive," its two 
greys, Chelsea and Brief, together with a supple- 
mentary pair of the same colour, but older, being 

Several roomy fourgons stand in the courtyard 
ready for service ; also two large private omni- 
buses, and a plain brougham devoid of arms or 
crest, in fact, so commonplace - looking as to 
attrap t no attention in the streets ; wherefore, it is 
occasionally used by the Princess, when shopping, 

There are, in all, some forty-five stalls and twelve 
loose boxes in the building, the names of the 
horses — mostly bays — being inscribed on enamel 
tablets overhead. All the fittings are up to date, 
and in perfect order. The ventilation is very good, 
and, needless to say, everything about the place is 
spotlessly clean and scrupulously neat, including the 
inevitable plaited straw bordering. 

Emperor, a fine black charger, ridden by the 
Prince at the trooping of the colours, is, perhaps, the 
handsomest horse in the stable. 

Birkenham draws the Princess's brougham. 
Marky, a chesnut, used to be ridden by Her Royal 
Highness ; but horse exercise, she has for some 
time past left to her daughters. 


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12 Marlborough House. 

With great regularity, every animal in the stables 
is taken out for exercise early in the morning ; and 
as they are used in turn for carriage-work, they 
seldom get frisky, so that an accident such as 
happened some years ago to the young Princesses 
— of which the following is the correct account — 
occasioning much alarm at the time, is not likely to 
occur again. 

Accompanied by Mademoiselle Vauthier, their 
governess, the three Princesses were out driving on 
the afternoon of July nth, 1881, when just as they 
had passed through the Arch, something startled 
Westminster, one of the fine bays attached to the 
landau, and he commenced to kick ; in so doing he hit 
his companion, Servia, severely on the stifle, consider- 
ably upsetting his nerves, and without a moment s 
warning the pair began to gallop furiously down 
Constitution Hill. Luckily, George Osborne, the 
coachman, kept his presence of mind and concen- 
trated all his energy towards the keeping clear of 
obstructions. In this he was only partially success- 
full, for as they tore along the Mall, a slight collision 
took place with Colonel Wilbraham's brougham. 
With great pluck the footman somehow contrived 
to get down from the box, and, jumping into a 
hansom cab, followed, in order to be in readiness 
when the end came. The young Princesses, though 
much alarmed, maintained an admirable composure, 
the absence of which might have complicated their 


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Marlborough House. i 


serious position. Osborne would have continued 
along The Mall, and so on to the Horse Guards 
Parade, but there was something in the way, and 
he had to attempt the sharp turn through Marl- 
borough Gate. This was safely accomplished, and 
as the horses evinced some signs of slackening 
speed, there seemed a chance of being piloted safely 
into Pall Mall, or — failing that — into St. James' 
Street, where the ascent must have stopped the run- 
aways. But such was not to be. As the traffic in 
Pall Mall was too dense to admit of turning to the 
right, Osborne went up St. James' Street, where, in 
trying to avoid a cab, the projecting splinter-bar 
caught in the lamp-post almost opposite to the 
entrance of the Thatched House Club, and brought 
everything to a standstill without overturning the 
landau. '* We were all well, though frightened,' 
says Mademoiselle Vauthier (now Mrs. Johnson), 
" were lifted out of the carriage, went into the club. 
Sir Dighton Probyn was sent for, and we all walked 
back to Marlborough House." 

Some days after this occurrence, George Osborne 
was presented by the Prince and Princess of Wales 
with a valuable scarf-pin and other articles oi 
jewellery, in recognition of his plucky conduct, and 
received their cordial thanks, accompanied by a 
hearty hand-shake from each member of the family. 
A short time ago, Osborne should in the ordinary 
course have retired from active service on a pension 


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14 Marlborough House. 

but the Princess would not hear of it, and he is 
now permanently installed as Her Royal Highness's 
own special coachman, a post of honour he well 
deserves, and bears with becoming modesty. 

Generally smoking a cigar or cigarette, and 
atrended by Lord Suffield or one of the equerries, 
the Prince of Wales sometimes strolls into the 
stables after breakfast to inspect any new purchase 
that may have been made, when he is sure to 
notice, though slow to remark upon, anything in the 
slightest degree out of order in his equine estab- 

In a room with black and white tiled floor is 
an interesting display of harness. That used on 
state occasions hangs up in glass cases, and is most 
elaborately adorned with gilt bearing the Prince s 
well-known crest. Similarly protected from damp, 
are other and plainer sets, all beautifully blacked 
and polished. A few remarkable-looking saddles — 
one of crimson velvet upon a frame of solid silver, 
another of blue velvet, and others specially made for 
the Princess — some whips with handles exquisitely 
chased in gold and silver, and sundry hunting-horns 
around which family associations still linger, com- 
plete the list of objects most worth looking at. 

By the kindness of the Prince, accredited persons 
furnished with tickets of admission from the super- 
intendent, are permitted to go over the stables, the 
best time being the afternoon, when the necessary 
cleaning-up is completed. 


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Marlborough House. 15 

In the first lease granted to the Duchess of 
Marlborough, it was expressly stipulated that the 
garden of the old Friary should not be built upon ; 
and to this is probably due the fact that, situated as 
it is almost in the heart of London, it is still so 
spacious and convenient. With good judgment, the 
Prince has elected to eschew elaborate flower-beds 
and other obstructions ; and but for a handsome 
bordering of geraniums, etc., which duly makes its 
appearance along the raised terrace-walks, and some 
groups of flowers filling up the stone vases here 
and there, together with the circular bed exactly in 
firont of the "garden-entrance" to the house, 
nothing is to be seen but ** flat lawn," delightfully 
shaded by elms, chesnuts, and evergreen oaks of 
quite respectable age, thus giving plenty of room 
for numerous guests to roam about. Here, " the 
dust and din and steam of town " is almost for- 
gotten, and in this safe retreat wood-pigeons 
securely nest, starlings fly about intent on providing 
for their offspring, and the song of the thrush is 
often heard. The grounds are almost entirely 
protected from the vulgar gaze by trees on every 
side ; so, too, is the house, except on the south or 
Park side, whence in summer a peep of the upper 
rooms may be obtained. But towards the end of 
October, when the trees are bare of leaves, an 
observer looking northwards across the ornamental 
water in St. James' Park, can obtain a capital view 
of Marlborough House, backed by the ornate roof 


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1 6 Marlborough House. 

and flagstaff of the new Oxford and Cambridge 

On each side of the garden entrance stands a 
small field-piece bearing the following inscription : 

** Brass-mounted gun rifled on the * La Hitte ' 
principle, taken September 13th, 1882, mounted on 
the right of the entrenchments Tel-el-Kebir pre- 
sented to H. R. H. the Prince of Wales by Admiral 
Lord Alcester, G.C.B." 

Here, also, as on the north side of the house, 
bay-trees in boxes give variety to the frontage. 

When the Marlborough Gate road was designed 
and made through the Palace precincts from Pall 
Mall to St. James' Park, by the Board of Works in 
1856, a strip of land remained over and above the 
requirements of the new thoroughfare ; so it was 
assigned to the garden of Marlborough House, 
adding to its western boundary a piece of land 272 
feet long by 83 in width, and the old wall was then 
brought into its present line. 

In this portion of the grounds is an artificial 
hillock approached by a slightly winding path, on 
whose summit, a little above the level of the wall, 
is a kind of platform provided with chairs and 
benches, appropriately called the Princess's Mound. 
Here, after the Trooping of the Colours at the 
Horse Guards on the Queen's birthday, the Princess 
of Wales and other members of the Royal family, 
listen to the massed bands of the Grenadiers, Scots 
Guards, and Coldstreams in Friary Court, before 


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Marlborough House. 17 

the dejeuner at Marlborough House. When '* God 
save the Queen " is played, the Royal party 
rise from their seats, and little Prince Edward of 
York's cap is gravely removed from his head. 'Tis 
a pretty sight. 

In a retired spot at the eastern corner of the 
garden, is a summer-house furnished with tea-tables 
and chairs — some of homely wicker work, and 
others cosily cushioned. At the back, against the 
wall, are a stuffed peacock and pea-hen, the 
former perched upon the topmost rung of a 
miniature ladder. Hereabouts, in past years, the 
youthful princes and princesses were in the habit 
of disporting themselves on tricycles along the 
broad gravel walks, and, no doubt, drank tea to- 
gether in the arbour, unrestrained by the presence 
of tutors and governesses. 

Sheltered by a neighbouring grove of trees, is a 
touching evidence of the Princess of Wales* well- 
known love of animals — four tiny tombstones side 
by side, whereon are the following inscriptions : 

The favourite dog of Her Royal Highness the Princess of 
Wales. Died March 16, i86r. Aged 18 months. 

The favourite dog of Her Royal Highness the Princess of 
Wales. Died 14 May, 1865. Aged 2 years. 

The favourite Japanese dog of Her Royal Highness the 
Princess of Wales. Died 10 July, 1864. Aged 2 years. 



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1 8 Marlborough House. 

« BONNY." 

The favourite rabbit of Her Royal Highness the Princess of 
Wales. Died June 8th, 1881. 

Perhaps most conspicuous is the grave of 
" Boxer," once the property of the late Colonel O. 
Montague, a friend of the Prince and Princess. 
Poor Boxer strayed into the preserves near Virginia 
Water, and was unfortunately shot dead by a keeper. 
The Prince and Princess were so distressed that 
they had the poor dog's remains sent up to London, 
and accorded the honour of sepulture in their own 
garden, where above the grave the sad tale is thus 
recorded : — 

" Here, scarce a league from St, Paul's historic dome, 
Where the broad elm trees shade a royal home. 
Lies a true friend to man, a dog ; what man 
Could more win love or more enhance his fame ? 
Through the parched desert and the midnight fray 
^Vhen his fond master led the glorious way, 
He bravely followed, and \rith mute caress 
Cheered both his labours and his idleness. 
A miscreant slew him — None was near to save. 
Let kindly tears bedew his honoured grave." 

Nor is this pathetic incident without precedent. 
In the year 17 14, a Mr. Robert Molesworth, after- 
wards created a Viscount, caused the body of a 
favourite greyhound to be sent from London to 
Edlington Wood, near Doncaster, and there buried 


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Marlborough House. 19 

beneath an altar-shaped monument, with a suitable 
inscription ; the dog having been the means of 
saving his life by pulling at his coat and preventing 
him from entering an outhouse just at the moment 
when a robber, lying there concealed, shot dead a 
servant advancing thither. 

And is there not at Victoria Gate a well-kept 
dogs' cemetery with more than forty graves, marble 
adorned and bright with flowers ? Who can say 
nay to the pretty custom of paying a kindly tribute 
to our canine friends, when Royalty itself has led the 
fashion long ago ? A nation, said to possess fifty- 
five dogs to every thousand inhabitants, and willing 
to pay, on occasion, so much as ;^ 1,000 for some 
famous pedigree St. Bernard or collie, can surely 
enter into the pathos of the scene witnessed at the 
funeral of Major-General Stotherd — who, it may be 
remembered, died very suddenly at Camberley last 
year — ^around whose coffin stood his three dogs, 
guarding, with characteristic fidelity, the remains ot 
their beloved master* 

There are no conservatories or hot-houses at 
Marlborough House ; the glass structure leading 
from the drawing-room into the garden being more 
in the nature of an ornamental portico. It is used 
as a lounge and smoking-room, and looks very 
pretty with its floor of blue and yellow tiles, its 
couches covered with turkey-red twill, convenient 
tables, easy chairs, blue and white vases, and white 
marble fountain filled with ferns and lycopodium — 



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20 Marlborough House. 

whereon a tinkling moistening spring ever falls. 
The door opening into the room within, is draped 
with turkey-red and white curtains, and on each 
side is an Indian figure — ^black and bare-headed — 
playing upon a pipe. This conservatory, as it is 
called, is a favourite place for the Royal family 
to be photographed in ; though recently it has 
been their practice to be taken in one or other of 
their private rooms. Some of its contents were 
formerly in a Turkish mandar'ah or reception-room 
which the Prince had on the first floor, where the 
Royal visitors' bed-room now is. It contained 
souvenirs of H. R. H.'s Eastern travels — amber 
mouth-pieces, embroidered tobacco bags, chain- 
armour, helmets, daggers, swords, etc., and a frag- 
ment of Egyptian hieroglyphics ; in the centre was 
a fountain, and there were the usual luxurious 
couches inseperable from divans. The Princess is 
an adept in photography, pursuing the popular art 
chiefly at Sandringham, and preferably in the open 
air. Her Royal Highness is quite capable of taking 
excellent portraits, and if every ** Royalty " were 
like her in this respect, they could, by taking one 
another's likenesses, probably solve the much vexed 
question discussed in the Times last NovAnber, 
between editors and professional photographers, 
when, as usual, the law upon the subject turned out 
to be anything but clear ; yet the newspaper con- 
troversy elicited at least one fact, viz., that if the 
photographer receive payment for his work, he has 


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Marlborough House. 21 

no right to apply for the copyright without a written 
permission from his employer, who is obviously the 
real proprietor. In the case of Royal personages, 
the exacting of fees is particularly objectionable, as 
it may be assumed that they pay for their pho- 
tographs, and do not, as a rule, give the required 
dociunentary ** permit." It must be admitted that 
Royalties stand on a rather different footing from 
the rest of mankind as regards the photographs of 
themselves exposed for sale ; and it is surely 
opposed to the good of the realm that any persons 
should practically obtain a monopoly of selling 
the Sovereign's likeness, or that of the different 
members of her family. A remedy for this un- 
satisfactory state of things might be an amendment 
of the Copyright Acts as applied to photography, 
removing Royalties altogether from their provi- 
sions, and enacting that, in their case, copyright 
privileges should not under any circumstances be 

However, to return to the garden. At Marl- 
borough House no attempt is made to rear plants 
or flowers, as at Sandringham, where, in the 
splendidly-kept houses, bananas and pine-apples 
ripen, and vines and peach-trees yield large 
returns; while in the forcing-houses are always to 
be seen a fine array of crotons, poinsettias and 
orchids, to say nothing — when in season — of 
masses of lily-of-the valley, the " daphne indica," of 
which the Princess is so fond, and the 200 feet of 


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22 Marlborough House. 

frames wherein violets are produced in immense 

Everything of this kind — the thousands of 
bedding-out plants required for the terrace borders, 
the profuse indopr floral and plant decorations, down 
to the choice button-holes placed every day ready 
for the use of the Prince, and the chief officials — 
has been provided since the year 1877 by Wills and 
Segar, with whom there is a contract at so much 
per annum, with an extra allowance for balls, etc. 

Since the Prince of Wales first came into posses- 
sion, the garden has been the scene of many a 
brilliant assemblage — the most important of which I 
shall describe hereafter — though none perhaps have 
been more interesting and picturesque than the 
meeting together of the members of the " Royal 
National Pension Fund for Nurses," in which 
admirable institution the Princess takes the greatest 
interest. Its object is to encourage all nurses in 
the British Empire to save each year, if possible, 
from one-eighth to one-sixth of their earnings, thus 
providing ** at the lowest possible cost to them- 
selves, an allowance during incapacity for work 
caused by sickness or accident, and a certain income 
for their declining years." 

Somewhat late on a certain fine afternoon last 
July (1895), Piccadilly and St. James Street 
presented an unusually gay appearance as groups 
of these hospital nurses, attired in varied and 
becoming uniform, with flowers in their hands. 


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Marlborough House . 23 

made their way back from Marlborough House, 
whither many of them had not long before been 
conveyed in private omnibuses, and where on their 
arrival they had been drawn up in military com- 
panies, four abreast, in front of the conservatory, 
every nurse wearing the armlet designed by the 
Princess — a band of red with a white border (the 
Danish national colours) and a red lozenge in the 
centre containing Her Royal Highness's coronet and 
monogram embroidered in white. Then the Prin- 
cess of Wales handed to each a certificate bearing 
upon its face a figure of an angel of sympathy and a 
fac-simile of her own signature. When the proceed- 
ings, that IS the speeches, were over, the company had 
tea in a large tent. Their Royal Highnesses going 
about amongst them, exchanging pleasant observa- 
tions, etc. After tea, the finishing touch was given 
to the happiness of the nurses, by the Princess 
herself. Whispering a few words to the Prince 
and to Sir Dighton Probyn, Her Royal Highness 
advanced to one of the many tables covered with 
flowers, and taking therefrom a spray of lovely 
roses, smilingly gave it to one of the nurses, at the 
same time intimating that the others might help 
themselves to these beautiful souvenirs. No further 
encouragement was needed — in a few moments all 
the floral decorations disappeared, to be afterwards 
commented on by the large crowd waiting outside 
for the nurses' departure. 

Here it may be remarked that the Prince has 


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24 Marlborough House. 

always been uniformly considerate in all matters 
relating to medical etiquette, obeying with the 
utmost diligence the wishes of his appointed 
physicians, of whose services, unfortunately, he 
and his family have often stood in need His 
Royal Highness has never departed from the 
orthodox systems, but with his well-known liberality . 
of view, has numbered amongst his most intimate 
friends the late Dr. Quin — the celebrated homoeo- 
path — whom he used frequently to visit at Victoria 
Mansions, and whose witty sayings he greatly 

The above kind of hospitable entertainment is 
one in which the Princess is pre-eminent ; and, as 
the chairman of the weekly board of the Royal Free 
Hospital said, when the Prince and Princess went 
there last year to open the new buildings : 

" Those who managed the Royal Free Hospital 
had for forty years been building a temple, not so 
magnificent as the temple of Diana, but designed 
for the glory of God, and the healing of the sick, 
and they were glad to place the name of Alexandra 
in the final section of that great institution in 
remembrance of a royal, gentle, and gracious 
Princess, whose nobility of character, kindness of 
heart, and tender sympathy for the sick and 
suffering poor, was known not only to them, but to 
the whole world." 


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Marlborough House. 25 


equerries' room — ^THE ROOM OF THE LADIES-IN- 

The conservatory leads direct from the garden into 
the great drawing-room — a noble salon, 65 x 25 
feet — formerly three distinct rooms, the handsome 
groups of pillars against the wall marking the 
original divisions. Coming suddenly out of the 
bright sunshine, it is somewhat difficult to dis- 
tinguish things clearly ; but when Brown, the 
obliging " tapissier," raises the gracefully-festooned 
pale silk blinds of the four windows overlooking the 
garden, one observes that the scheme of decoration 
is white and gold, that the ceiling is picked out with 
colours relieved with gold, and that the ivy-leaf 
design on the triple pillars is very handsome. 

Covering the polished oak floor, is a splendid 
" Axminster," supplemented by Persian rugs ; the 
walls are panelled in crimson silk, projecting where- 
from are ormolu girandoles fitted for the electric light. 
Over the fireplace at each end of the room is a beau- 
tiful white mantelpiece surmounted by a mifror, and 
near that on the left, are two grand pianos side by side, 


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26 Marlborough House. 

with covers of magnificently embroidered elephants' 
trapping. Externally plain, these instruments in the 
hands of a skilful player, send forth sounds as 
enchanting as ever greeted the ear of Mr. Vander- 
bilt, who is said to have recently paid ;^3,ooo for 
a piano bought for his new Fifth Avenue House, 
the stool itself costing another £^o ; or of Mr. 
Macquand, the banker, of New York, who has a 
piano that cost ;^5,cxx>, yet only in keeping with 
the scale upon which his mansion is furnished ; for, 
if report be true ;^30,ooo has been expended on 
one of his rooms alone, the smaller chairs being 
;^400, and the easy-chairs ;^6oo a-piece. 

These noble pianos of the Princess are Broad- 
woods, and technically described as " three hundred 
guinea concert grands," They were selected for 
Her Royal Highness by the late Sir Charles Halle, 
and deservedly occupy the place of honour in this 
establishment, being representative of what ex- 
clusively British art can accomplish, and the perfec- 
tion to which the mechanism of pianos has been 
brought since the days, one hundred and sixty-four 
years ago, when Burkhardt Tschudi set up the sign 
of **Ye Plume of Feathers," in Great Pulteney 
Street, a privilege obtained from Frederick, Prince 
of Wales, no doubt through the influenc<$ of Handel, 
who, like Haydn and Mozart, played upon 
harpsichords of his make. King George HI. gave 
Tschudi's successor, John Broad wood, a special 
appointment, so that the old firm may well pride 


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Marlborough House, 27 

themselves upon having, for five successive reigns, 
had dealings with the English Court. 

The Princess's Erard harp— no longer in use — at 
one time stood behind these pianos, and some years 
ago, when Her Royal Highness gave afternoon teas 
here, the most delightful little impromptu concerts 
were held, whereat the voices of Jenny Lind, Patti, 
and other prima donnas were not infrequently heard. 

Her Royal Highness often invites budding 
pianistes and singers to perform before her, and 
receives them in this room, though on special 
occasions they are taken up to her boudoir. 

From a small easel at the back, a life-like present- 
ment of the Dowager Empress of Russia appears to 
keep watch and ward over the two pianos, and 
against the wall is a large carved Indian screen 
containing charming photographs of the Royal 
children. In fact, there are family portraits every- 
where, the most noticeable being in a handsome 
four-fold Chinese ebony screen, whose panels are 
adorned with costly Japanese silk of diminutive 
pattern and neutral tint. On a stand close by, is a 
wedding present from far-off Australia — ^a service of 
pure gold ; and near one of the groups of pillars is 
an East Indian set of ornaments of the same 
precious metal. A Chinese folding-screen in a 
carved frame, displays some fine embroidery and 
arranged at intervals against the wall on velvet- 
covered pedestals, are four pieces of statuary, half- 
life-size. Near to the one representing a veiled 


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28 Marlborough House. 

child, is a white and gold portfolio, belonging to 
the Princess, bearing her initial, " A." 

All the chief pieces of furniture are white and 
gold, upholstered in crimson silk, the fine ottoman 
in the middle of the room being of crimson 
silk too. Wherever this stately fabric is used, 
Spitalfields looms have been the medium of pro- 
duction. Most of the smaller articles vary in 
colouring, and some of the chairs and couches are 
covered with embroideries brought by the Prince 
from India. 

Quite the most beautiful objects in the room are 
two Louis XVI. cabinets mounted in ormolu, with 
ivory plaques in centre panels and inlaid with 
various woods. They cost ;^300 a-piece, and a fine 
Dresden vase stands upon each. The occasional 
tables and writing-tables, matching this exquisite 
pair of cabinets, are also very handsome. 

A finishing touch is given to the beauty of this 
splendid room by the introduction, wherever pos- 
sible, of lofty palms, Kentias, and Latanias, whose 
graceful fronds droop caressingly over the beautiful 
objects they partially veil. 

On entering the famous Indian room from the 
western door of the drawing-room, and glancing 
round at the cases full of lethal weapons, we recall, 
as follows, the words of a popular novelist "In 
India there is always the flicker of the sword, 
whether it be the weapon of steel in man's hands, 
or the sword of pestilence, matters not, there it is ; 


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Marlborough House. 29 

but here in England we forget it, and hide it behind 
bricks and mortar and much speaking." 

By no means hidden away, however, is this, 
perhaps the finest collection of Indian arms and 
rare objects of art ever brought together. 

It will be remembered that during the visit of the 
Prince of Wales to India in 1874, he was presented 
by the native princes and chiefs with a vast number 
of rich gifts, all of which were carefully packed, 
safely received on board the Serapis, and brought 
to Portsmouth, With his usual thoughtfulness and 
foresight, the Prince, before leaving India, cabled 
home instructions for the transfer of these valuable 
presents to the Indian Museum at South Kensing- 
ton, where the public might have an opportunity of 
inspecting them. From 1876 to 1881 they were 
shown at various centres, including Paris in 1878, 
and now have found a resting-place at Marlborough 
House and Sandringham. 

On account of its representative character the 
importance of this collection is great, independently 
of its intrinsic value, which may be estimated at 
any sum ranging from a quarter to half a million 
sterling. This can be the more easily realised when 
the cases are lighted up at night, and rubies^ 
emeralds, diamonds and sapphires on sword, dagger- 
handles, belts and scabbards, flash back the brilliant 
rays of electricity. 

The room where these treasures are gathered 
together was formerly the library, and was furnished 


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30 Marlborough House. 

in walnut and gold with coverings of green and gold 
silk ; but when most of the books contained in the 
cases were removed to. Sandringham the furniture 
was remodelled to suit its present use. 

Receiving all the sunlight obtainable through its 
five windows, looking south and west, and situated, 
as it is, mid-way between the state drawing-room 
and the painting and tapestry rooms, this apartment 
is a great favourite with the Princess of Wales. 
Here it is that dinners are given, when the party 
consists of more than four or five guests, yet is not 
sufficiently large to necessitate the use the principal 

The walls are covered with maroon figured velvet 
of Eastern design, the windows being curtained 
with the same. On the floor are Indian carpets 
and rugs. Chairs of carved English oak, uphol- 
stered in cloth of gold, brought by the Prince 
from India, couches in the sam*5 material, but 
somewhat lighter in tone — exquisite colours on a 
white ground — with cushions, as a rule partly con- 
cealed by gorgeous elephants' housings of green 
and gold velvet, are grouped about, and a large 
divan in the centre covered with Indian embroidery, 
produces a distinctly Oriental effect. 

In the windows facing west, are glass-topped tables, 
full as they can hold of medals, keys, and trowels, 
chased and engraved. Should the Prince ever have 
tb earn his living as a mason, there are trowels 
enough to serve not only for his lifetime, but for that 


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Marlborough House. 31 

of several generations to follow. All these objects 
are, of course, mementoes of the laying of founda- 
tion-stones and the opening of public buildings. 

A particularly handsome vase, the gift of the 
Czar Alexander 11. of Russia, stands near these 
trowels, on a pink marble pedestal ; and, displayed 
in a prominent position, is a magnificent shield, said 
to have cost ;^20,cxxd. 

In a corner of the room, covered by an elephant's 
trapping, is a horizontal grand piano in a rosewood 
case, by Brinsmead, presented to the Princess of 
Wales by the Grand Lodge of Freemasons in 1888. 
Upon it repose many cylinders of solid silver, con- 
taining addresses received by the Prince during his 
Indian tour. 

How many such documents, elaborately engrossed 
and illuminated, recording the undying loyalty and 
devotion of corporations, municipalities and public 
bodies all over the kingdom, must not His Royal 
Highness have received in the course of his life ! — 
all neatly packed in cases or embroidered rolls ; 
source of boundless admiration to many a provincial 
town or city, as the mayor, aldermen and town clerk 
affix their signatures, fondly imagining, maybe, that 
when the Prince hands the precious burden to one 
of his suite it will — along with others — find its way 
to some drawing-room table at Marlborough House, 
and there remain. These documents are certainly 
well looked after, and duly appreciated, and I know 
the exact spot honoured by their presence, but I 


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32 Marlborough House. 

must elect to maintain a sphynx-like silence on the 

Obviously the feature of the Indian room is the 
collection itself. This is contained chiefly in carved 
pollard-oak cases arranged along the walls of the 
apartment, and which are very fine, the oak being 
relieved with gold and the lower panels inlaid with 
boxwood. Most effectively are the contents illu- 
mined by means of electric light, which, upon press- 
ing an outside button — ^a method suggested, I be- 
lieve, by the Prince himself — reflects from invisible 
points upon the different objects. 

" The sword,'* says the late Sir Richard F. 
Burton, " is not only the oldest, the most universal, 
and the most varied of weapons, but it is the only 
one which has lived through all time." 

Roman legionaries we know found steel weapons 
of the finest temper in the Spanish Peninsula, and 
we are told that the weapons of the Celtibenians 
were so keen that no helmet or shield existed that 
could not be cut through by them. We are not 
surprised, therefore, to learn that the blade of many 
a celebrated Indian sword came from the West, 
and did not originate in the glowing land where 
they set it in precious metals encrusted with gems. 
Nor is it to be wondered that the weapons of 
European manufacture taken from England by the 
Prince for presentation in India, were much appre- 
ciated by the native rulers and tributaries. Terrific 
is the force that can be put into a skilfully directed 


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Marlborough House. 33 

blow from one of these samples of the *' white arm," 
well exemplified in a story told me by Henderson, 
the well-known professor of swordsmanship, who was 
present at the battle of Chillianwallah, in the year 
1849. It was to the effect that towards the termina- 
tion of the fight, as our troops were reluctantly 
retiring, a Sikh by his defiant attitude towards an 
Irish soldier, seemed to challenge him to leave 
the ranks and engage in single combat Nothing 
loth, the Celtic hero rushed upon him and thrust 
his bayonet right through his foe; but, though 
mortally wounded, the Sikh instantaneously, with 
his razor - edged tulwar, cleft his opponent's head 
in two, both combatants falling dead at the same 

This Indian collection has been most carefully 
classified and catalogued, but no mere recital of its 
items would convey an adequate idea of its beauty 
and comprehensiveness. There stands prominently 
out, however, in one's recollection of it, a certain 
gold tray from Mysore, in Southern India, a splendid 
piece of workmanship, and a wonderful example 
of modern decorative art. There are enamels 
worth their weight, not in gold — for they are 
composed of that metal — but in Bank of England 
notes. They come from Jeypore in Rajputana, 
and although the cost of the presents made to 
His Royal Highness by each native prince was 
supposed to be strictly limited to ;^2,ooo, in this 
case the restriction was skilfully evaded by pricing 



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34 Marlborough House. 

them at that nominal sum — ^though the real value 
was probably not much less than ;^25,cxx). 

But perhaps the most exquisite object in the 
Jeypore collection is a golden inkstand, shaped like 
an Eastern gondola, and literally glowing with reds, 
greens and blues. 

One of the dishes is the largest of its kind ever 
produced, and took four years to make. Then 
there is an enamelled atardan, or scent-holder ; 
also a cup, saucer, and box, all alike blazing with 
imperishable hues. 

Some of the brass figures in the collection are 
very quaint. One group represents soldiers on 
horseback, swaggering in most comical attitudes. 
These are from Peddapuram, near Vizagapatan. 

Amongst the arms in the cases is a glorious 
sword with blade mounted throughout in half-relief 
with hunting scenes. Another has its scabbard 
literally covered with floral designs in hard gold. 
An ivory gun - stock is carved d nterveille, with 
groups of wild animals ; and four gun-barrels — 
perfect examples of damascening — sorely tempt 
us to break the Tenth Commandment. 

A full account of this wonderful exhibition — for 
such it in truth is — appeared in the Times of June 
22 nd, 1876 ; but to be thoroughly appreciated it 
must be seen and contemplated for hours together. 

From weapons of destruction to the peaceful 
productions of industry is a pleasant transition. 
Therefore, on our way to the tapestry room — 


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Marlborough House. 35 

approached by a short corridor from the Indian 
room — we take a peep at the Princess's painting 
room, quite a small apartment, that was originally 
a passage leading into the garden. Its floor is 
covered with matting, the windows are curtainless, 
a couple of easels and a chair or two complete the 
furnishing, and there would be nothing of interest 
in its appearance were it not for the presence of a 
few sketches and paintings by our beloved Princess. 
Here Her Royal Highness sometimes sees great 
authorities on art, whose criticism and advice she 
always welcomes. The late Lord Leighton, whom 
she not only esteemed and admired, but regarded 
as a " much valued friend," was a frequent visitor. 
Twelve o'clock is the usual hour for visits of this 
kind, but neither here nor in the adjoining tapestry 
room — known also as the *' Princess's sitting-room "" 
— does Her Royal Highness pass much time, her- 
favourite apartments being upstairs. 

Of the antiquity of the beautiful art illustrated 
so charmingly on the walls of the tapestry room 
there can be little doubt. When the Tabernacle 
was being made in the wilderness, ten curtains 
of fine twined linen, blue, purple and scarlet 
— ^the work of a cunning broiderer — were com- 
manded to be prepared; while tapestry hangings, 
whose iron rings and poles may still be seen at 
Pompeii and Herculaneum, covered the Roman 
walls between the pillars in the atrium. 

As regards our own country, alas ! a taste for this, 


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36 Marlborough House. 

the highest form of art-needlework, seems to defy 
revival. Only the other day, the "plant" of the 
Royal Windsor works, whose productions often 
rivalled Gobelin and Beauvais fabrics, was dispersed 
abroad — the looms going to Aubusson. Thus the 
second attempt to resuscitate an almost extinct 
industry failed for want of proper support, two 
hundred years having elapsed since the first effort 
was made at Mortlake to re-introduce the manufac- 
ture into England. Why such a noble adornment 
for the walls of large mansions is not universally 
adopted is a mystery ! unless it be that the ad- 
vanced woman of the day, well versed in the '* fads " 
of modem hygiene, has decried it as insanitary, 
harbouring dust and microbes. 

A very handsome Chinese silk carpet covers the 
floor of this room, in the middle of which is an 
ebony table of rare workmanship, mounted in 
ormolu. The chairs are variously upholstered. 
Dwarf book-cases of mahogany and gold, sur- 
mounted by lovely vases and bronzes, contain the 
Mitchell bequest to Her Royal Highness— a choice 
collection of books valued at ;^ 10,000. Although 
the room is crowded with pretty furniture, bric-a- 
brac, etc., etc., its crowning beauty, after all, is the 
exquisite old silk tapestry on the walls, representing 
Scriptural subjects — ^a gift to the Princess from her 
Majesty, the Queen. One can picture the religeuses 
sitting day by day for many a year patiently work- 
ing at their labour of love in some old convent with 


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Marlborough House. 37 

lis high-walled garden, where lilies, tall hollyhocks, 
and useful herbs contended for possession of the 
well-kept borders, and spicy odours from clove 
carnations filled the wan air. 

A "jib" door, as it is technically called — hard to 
find when in a hurry — leads from the tapestry room 
into the corridor, at the point just opposite the 
Comptroller's official retreat. This part of the 
house is always more or less in the gloom, architec- 
tural difficulties preventing any direct light from 
reaching it, and, moreover, the corridor, though but 
sixty feet in length, is inconveniently narrow and 
cramped for so large a mansion. Two graceful 
female figures in niches — the " Bathers " — by Mn 
John Gibson, R. A. are its sole adornment. 

At the foot of the west, or the Prince of WalesV 
staircase — situated between the tapestry room and 
the saloon — is a great malachite vase, eight feet in 
height, mounted on ormolu. 

The corresponding flight of stairs on the farther 
side is called the Royal visitors* staircase ; and 
adjoining is the Princess* lift ; also another, used 
for luggage. 

Both these staircases, by no means spacious — are 
of black marble, covered with rich Axminster carpet, 
the bannisters being of wrought iron, relieved with 

On the walls of the west staircase are portraits 
of the great Duke of Marlborough, his brother, 
Lord Churchill, and Prince Eugene of Savoy, also 


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38 Marlborough House. 

representations of the battle of Ramilies, May 23rd, 
1706, when Marshal Villeroi was completely de- 
feated. In leaping a wide ditch, Marlborough's 
horse fell, and he was violently thrown to the 
ground. His aide-de-camp. Captain Molesworth, 
instantly offered him another, whose stirrup Colonel 
Bingfield, the Duke's equerry, held. As the great 
Commander mounted, the Colonel fell back dead, a 
cannon-ball having taken his head clean off — ^and 
this dreadful scene is here represented. 

All these paintings were restored in 1889 by Mr. 
John Richards, R.A. 

On the Royal visitors' staircase is depicted the 
battle of Malplaquet, one of the most stubbornly- 
fought of Marlborough's battles, which ended in the 
retreat of the French, who were in perfect order, 
and had neither lost colours nor prisoners. Prince 
Eugene was wounded in this engagement, fought 
September nth, 1709, as was also his opponent, 
Marshal Villars, so severely as to necessitate his 
leaving the field. 

Midway in the corridor, facing one another, are 
two not particularly wide doorways, one leading to 
the saloon, the other to the entrance hall. The 
latter is not remarkable in any way ; it is perfectly 
plain, and the walls are bare, save for one or two 
paintings. But the absence of antlers or other 
adornment is redeemed by the presence of Thor- 
walsden's splendid marble group — ** Adam and 
Eve " — a gift from the King of Denmark. 


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Marlborough House. 39 

On either side of the outer hall, and commanding 
a good view of the quadrangle, thus enabling their 
occupants to note all who come and go, are the 
rooms set apart for the ladies-in-waiting, and the 
equerries. In the latter's apartment— quite plainly 
furnished — are some interesting pictures, and two 
objects which vividly recall the intense excitement 
in England fourteen years ago, when the news of 
the naval operations in Egypt came to hand. On 
revolving stands, are two lo-inch spherical shells, 
fitted with silver plates recording the fact that they 
were fired from the forts of Alexandria during the 
memorable bombardment of July nth, 1882, and 
presented by the Admiral as a souvenir to the 
Princess of Wales. The incident connected with 
them was as follows : 

In July, 1882, the bombardment of Alexandria 
having been forced upon Admiral Sir Beauchamp 
Seymour by the obduracy of Arabi Pasha, at day- 
light on the nth, the fleet under his command 
was under weigh, and at 7 a.m. the signal was 
given to open fire on the forts ; and shortly after- 
wards, a second gun proclaimed a general action. 
H. M. S. Alexandra led the van of the outer 
attacking force, and at 9 a.m., one of the lo-inch 
spherical shells, now at Marlborough House, came 
through the ship's side, penetrated the torpedo 
lieutenant's cabin, and striking against the massive 
iron combings of the engine-room hatchway, re- 
bounded, after knocking a few rifles out of the 


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40 Marlborough House. 

arm-rack, and, rolling a little further on, stopped— 
hissing and spluttering — close to the hatchway, up 
which Chief-Gunner Israel Hardy was at that 
instant coming. What followed must be told in the 
words of this gallant seaman : 

"A large tub of water, used for local and 
immediate extinction of fire in action, being close 
to me, and seeing that the fuse was still burning, I 
seized it instantly and placed it in the tub, this 
having the effect of drowning the fuse. The 
second lo-inch shell came crashing through the 
Staff-Commander's cabin, and, hitting the inside of 
the hatchway, fell into the Admiral's cabin and 
rolled along the passage way, the powder of the 
bursting charge running out of the fuse hole, there 
being rio fuse in this one. My opinion is, that the 
fuse of this shell could not have been set in suffi- 
ciently firm, and so must have been knocked out 
in passing through the ship's side. This shell Was 
also placed in the water with the other, and the 
powder on the deck destroyed by water." 

Chief-Gunner Hardy was presented with the 
Victoria Cross at Malta, on November 14th of the 
same year, which signal mark of distinction Her 
Majesty the Queen was graciously pleased to confer 
upon him as an evidence of her sense of the daring 
displayed by him on that occasion. 

These identicstl projectiles were sent to England, 
and after being polished and set in their stands at 
the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, were appropriately 


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Marlborough House. 41 

presented by the Admiral to the Royal lady, who, 
some years before, at Chatham, had bestowed upon 
the noble ironclad her own name. 

On one side of the fireplace is a clever and 
spirited water-colour by Melton Prior. Near it is 
an aquarelle by H. Chevalier, of a grand polonaise 
being danced at a ball in the Winter Palace at 
St. Petersburg on the occasion of the Duke of 
Edinburgh's marriage. Above the mantelpiece 
hangs an oil painting by A. de Prades, 1882, of 
Fairplay (by Paganini out of Astraca) four-year-old, 
winner of the Household Brigade Cup and of 
Kempton Royal Steeplechase, 1882. To lovers of 
the turf, especially those who have a taste for 
reminiscences and do not disdain to study the past 
as the true guide to the future, another picture here 
— that of Baronet painted by J. N. Sartorius — will 
be invested with particular interest. Baronet (by 
Vertumnus) was the property of the Prince Regent, 
and was ridden by the celebrated Sam Chifney, 
senior, in the year 1791. Beneath the painting it 
is recorded that he won the Oatlands at Ascot, be- 
sides King's Plates at Winchester, Lewes, Canter- 
bury and Newmarket. 

Those were the days when a Kings Plate of 
j^ioo was thought well worth running for, and 
when the noble sport was conducted under diffi- 
culties that few of the present generation can credit 
or understand. 

The Chifney rush, the slack rein, and the pecu- 


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42 Marlborough House. 

liar style of finish, was diligently transmitted to 
his son, to whom he began to give lessons at a very 
tender age, when he weighed but three stone, and 
who afterwards became as famous as his father. 
Chifney, senior, it was who rode the Prince Regent's 
Escape, in those two races at Newmarket in 
1792, which brought about His Royal Highness' 
retirement from the " Heath." He had been jockey 
to the Prince from 1784 to 1804, ^^d he died at 
the age of fifty-two within the rules of the Fleet 

Looking at Baronet's portrait, one's thoughts 
naturally turn to the sporting career of the Prince of 
Wales. His good fortune, luck — call it what you will 
— in yachting, has passed into a proverb ; though 
the Britannia s great success has, doubtless, arisen 
from the fact that, unlike many other large cutters, 
she is a good all-round boat in any weather, and 
that since she commenced her racing career, she has 
been commanded by one of the cleverest skippers 
anywhere to be found, with a crew, as near perfec- 
tion as possible. 

On the Turf, however. His Royal Highness has 
had to wait a considerable time before the fickle 
goddess would condescend to smile upon him ; 
unlike his great-uncle, who at the outset won the 
Derby in 1788, and in the course of four years, 
secured the Judges' verdict in his favour in one 
hundred and eighty-four races. But perseverance 
and good judgment have met with their reward, and 


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Marlborough House. 43 

for all his disappointment, the Prince must have 
been amply consoled last year at Manchester, when 
the son of St. Simon and Perdita II. carried 
Calder to victory two lengths from Green Lawn, 
and a tremendous roar of cheering, repeated again 
and again, proclaimed the fact that the cup would 
go to Marlborough House ; and at Ascot, when, 
amidst a brilliant assemblage. Persimmon and 
Florizel II. won in succession the ** County Stakes" 
and the " Gold Vase," followed up three days later 
— an Italian sky looking down upon one of the 
biggest crowds ever seen at the Royal meeting— by 
the winner of the latter becoming victor in the 
" St. James' Palace Stakes." 

Beyond the entrance-hall is the room used by 
the Ladies-in-waiting — ^as regards size, a duplicate 
of that of the Equerries, but more daintily fur- 
nished, with some pretty water-colours brightening 
the walls. Here the Lady-in-waiting may receive 
her friends, or grant an interview to persons calling 
on special business, before they are ushered into 
the presence of the Princess. 

Next is a roomy apartment, still called the 
** school-room," where the Royal children used to 
have their lessons, now used as a receptacle for 
discarded furniture and general odds and ends, also 
for the unpacking of presents previous to their 
inspection by the Prince and Princess. 


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44 Marlborough House. 



We are now at the east side of the house — shaving 
as it were travelled round it from the south and west 
— and enter the Royal household dining-room, an 
exceedingly comfortable " salle a manger,'* twenty- 
five feet square. When large parties are given in 
the adjoining state apartment, this is utilized as a 
serving-room, on which occasions the equerries and 
ladies and gentlemen of the household have to 
dine a little earlier than their usual hour, seven 
o'clock, so that the room may be got ready. Sir 
Dighton Probyn, Sir Francis KnoUys, the Equerries, 
Mr. Holzman,*the Lady-in-waiting, Miss KnoUys, 
and the ladies and gentlemen in attendance on any 
Royal visitors in the house have their meals in this 
room. Their breakfast-hour is from 9.30 to 10 a. m. 
— Mr. Holzman, the librarian, generally being the 
first to put in an appearance — ^and luncheon from 2 to 
2.30 p.m. The furniture is of handsome mahogany, 
plain in design. Occupying a prominent position, 
and bearing the inscription " Presented to my 
friend, the Prince of Wales," is a fine oil-painting 


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Marlborough House. 45 

— nearly life-size — of King Oscar II. of Sweden, 
in unimpeachable black silk stockings, and wearing 
the Order of the Garter. 

Few people, looking superficially at the exterior 
of Marlborough House, would imagine it to possess 
such spacious basements as it does7 In fact, they 
are unusually commodious. Beneath the tapestry- 
room and the painting-room is a large, comfortable 
servants* hall ; and. under the saloon, drawing-room 
and entrance hall are excellent wine-cellars, super- 
intended by the wine-butler, with his under-butler, 
cellarmen and bottlers. There are also a furnace- 
room, a housekeeper's store - closet, florist's and 
china-rooms — the two latter being under the school- 
room. Beer, the national beverage, "tho' stale, 
not ripe, tho* thin, yet ever clear,*' has a special 
cellar beneath Sir Dighton Probyn's office, and on 
the garden side, under the Indian-room, the footmen 
are accommodated. Beyond are the linen-room, 
store-room and still-room, and underneath the 
Royal household dining-room and a^ portion of the 
state dining-room, are several good pantries for 
silver-cleaning, washing-up, etc. 

Like other great mansions, Marlborough House 
possesses a plate-room. It is absolutely fire-proof, 
illuminated by electricity, and guarded with un- 
ceasing vigilance. The floor is tiled, and there is 
a good-sized fire-place. Round the walls, reaching 
from floor to ceiling, are mahogany cases about a 
yard deep, glass - panelled, and fitted with patent 


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46 Marlborough House. 

locks. In the centre is a magnificent case matching 
the others, of the thickest plate-glass, around which 
one can walk, as at the Tower while inspecting the 
Crown Jewels. It was constructed in the Silver- 
Wedding year to receive the large number of 
presents lavished upon the Prince and Princess. 
Being strictly utilitarian, it is lined with plain blue 
cloth, and not with the traditional velvet of 
jewellers and silversmiths, and now contains some of 
the valuable gifts that year after year Their Royal 
Highnesses have acccepted, besides the plate in 
ordinary use, and the special dinner-services, one 
of which is probably the finest in existence. 
Here may be seen presentation-services (break- 
fast, dinner and tea), elaborate centre-pieces, richly 
chased salvers, caskets, flagons, tankards, bowls, 
vases, racing-cups and yachting prizes won by 
the Britannia at Cowes and elsewhere — silver 
trowels, candelabra, keys inlaid in silver and gilt, 
candlesticks, beautiful models of buildings and 
animals, dainty specimens of Indian art- work in 
the white metal, statuettes, gold and silver cups, 
old silver spoons, silver -gilt salt-cellars, tea and 
coffee services. Christening gifts, birthday gifts, 
wedding presents and Christmas and Easter pre- 

So extensive is the collection that it necessitates 
the constant employment of three or four men to 
clean and keep it in order. Certainly it merits a 
prolonged description, but there is so much to be 


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Marlborough House. 47 

seen elsewhere that one cannot linger here however 
fascinating the glittering sight. 

In the season, when the Prince and Princess are 
in residence, there are about eighty-five servants 
employed at Marlborough House, besides some forty 
more connected with the stables. This large staff is 
splendidly cared for and admirably managed. All 
are eligible for a pension after ten years' service, 
but they usually remain much longer, those who 
have been in the Prince's employment twelve 
years mentioning the fact almost apologetically. 
Thus, although the rate of wages paid is not much 
above the average, their position is in many 
respects an enviable one. 

In the steward s room, the housekeeper — who sits 
at the foot of the table, the steward, of course, being 
at the head — pages, valets, wine-butler, dressers, and 
all the upper servants, together with those attend- 
ant upon Royal visitors, breakfast together at 8 
o'clock, dine at 1.30, and have tea at 5 o'clock. 
Supper is nominally at 9 p.m., and is an excellent 
one, many of the dishes coming direct from the 
Royal dinner-table. Those who have meals in this 
room are waited upon by men in black livery. 

Supper in the servants hall, where the serjeant- 
footman presides, is at the same hour, tea is at 5 
o'clock, dinner at i o'clock, and breakfast at 8 
o'clock. All those servants not included in the 
" upper crust " division, are accommodated here, and 
most plentifully and comfortably provided for. 


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48 Marlborough House. 

In the days when Marlborough House was 
designed by Sir Christopher Wren, it was necessary 
that an architect should take into account the social 
customs of the time. This is why so many houses 
of the period, say, from the year 1700 to the end 
of the eighteenth century, were built with very 
spacious halls opening out into the streets. At 
Devonshire House, for instance, one of its largest 
apartments was originally the vestibule ; and old 
Montague House possessed a noble marble- floored 
and pillared hall. 

Thus, for the great Duchess, Sir Christopher 
Wren had to provide a waiting-room of ample 
proportions, for the accommodation of the crowd of 
politicians, broken-down officers, authors, actors, 
and suppliants for favours and advancement, who 
were certain to assemble there. 

Autre temps, autre mosurs. Therefore, when 
Marlborough House was enlarged and altered for 
its occupancy by the Prince and Princess of Wales, 
and a porte-cochere and entrance hall added to the 
original front, the old vestibule was converted into 
a saloon, a truly noble salle - de - riception thirty 
feet long by thirty wide, not very large, but ad- 
mirably proportioned. At one end, a narrow 
gallery connects the Royal private apartments 
with the visitors' rooms on the first floor. There 
are no windows, but good light is obtained 
through a domed skylight. The top of the 
light is covered with lead, painted inside with 


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Marlborough House. 49 

allegorical representations of the Arts and 

I am inclined to think that this is one of the 
handsomest rooms in London. Indeed, it would 
be hard to find another anywhere, whose general 
arrangements are more harmonious ; and such an in- 
describable atmosphere of by-gone times pervades it 
that were one to draw to the heavy portieres, 
and, alone in the fading daylight, let imagination 
exercise its full power, one could almost see the 
Duchess herself returning from an interview with 
Queen Anne ; or — aged before his time, the grim 
spectre of paralysis hovering over him — the 
illustrious John Churchill, greatest of English 
Generals, who had raised his country to a height of 
glory never obtained since the days of Poictiers 
and Agincourt, but who in his declining years was 
so beset with detraction and envy, that neither here 
nor at Blenheim could he find the rest so nobly 
earned and so earnestly desired. 

On the upper part of three of the saloon walls, 
are Laguerre s paintings of the immortal battle of 
Blenheim, August 13th, 1704, and Marshal Tallard 
surrendering to Marlborough, in whose travelling 
carriage he left the scene of his utter defeat, after 
having had the mortification of witnessing his five 
squadrons of the gens-d'armes fleeing before the 
Carabiniers under Colonel Palmes, and the final 
cavalry charge of eight thousand sabres, Marl- 
borough at their head, bearing down with irresistible 



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50 Marlborough House. 

force upon ten thousand of the enemy, scattering 
them like chaff before the wind. 

After the death of William IV. when Marlborough 
House was being got ready for Queen Adelaide, in 
1838, these pictures, with those on the staircase, 
having become rather dilapidated — or, as it is said, 
because the Dowager Queen did not like them — 
were effectually concealed behind a covering of 
stucco, or some such material, happily of a preserva- 
tive nature, and their very existence was forgotten. 

Many years later, in 1859, Prince Edward of 
Saxe- Weimar was discussing with H.R.H. the 
Prince Consort the alterations then in progress at 
Marlborough House, and happened to mention 
these paintings, which he (Prince Edward) well 
remembered. The Prince Consort was at first 
incredulous, and dismissed the subject, but Prince 
Edward returned to the charge, assuring him that 
his statement was correct, and offering to prove it. 
Accordingly, a small portion of the stucco was re- 
moved, and, to the Prince Consort's great astonish- 
ment, the existence of Laguerre's battle-pieces was 
effectually demonstrated. 

During the same year the Hon. Sir Spencer 
C. B. Ponsonby Fane may also claim the merit 
of having discovered these well-nigh forgotten 
works of Art. Sir Spencer — unaware of Prince 
Edward's knowledge — suspecting that something lay 
behind the whitewash and colouring, cleared away 
a portion, and laid bare the pictures beneath. They 


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Marlborough Hotise. 51 

were then restored and cleverly touched-up in 
accordance with Laguerre's designs, so far as they 
were known. 

As regards the painting of the battle of Ramilies 
on the principal staircase, some years afterwards, in 
1889, the Prince of Wales came across the original 
engravings in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle, 
and at once perceived that some errors had crept 
into the pictures at Marlborough House while being 
restored by Mr. Richards, R.A., for which he was 
clearly not to blame. So His Royal Highness 
gave instructions to have nearly the whole repainted 
in strict accord with the old impressions, and 
Laguerre's work now looks as fresh as when first 

But the concealment of these paintings is only a 
further illustration of the remarkable difficulty there 
is in arriving at the actual truth of anything after 
a few years' lapse of time. 

Covering the entire area of the saloon there is a 
splendid carpet, technically called an Axminster — 
and, by-the-way, it was near the picturesque little 
town of that name, on the borders of bosky Dorset 
and Devon, ** deep-meadowed, happy, fair, with 
orchard lawns," that John Churchill, Duke of Marl- 
borough, first saw the light 

Time has softened the bright hues of this right 
Royal production — a present to the Prince on the 
occasion of his wedding — but it accords wonderfully 
with the tapestry on the walls, and the groups of 


Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

52 Marlborough House. 

cabinets, chairs, couches, etc. There is a curious 
feature about it, usually unobserved. It has in the 
centre an extremely ornamental star, slightly — about 
a foot — out of the straight, that is to say, the carpet 
cannot be placed in the exact middle of the room, 
owing to the projection of the massive fireplace, 
which prevents it being laid quite on the square. 

Rivalling the works of Titian or Rubens, superb 
panels of Gobelin tapestry take the place of pictures 
on the walls of this beautiful room, producing an 
indescribably lovely effect. Much of it was pre- 
sented to the Prince by Napoleon III. and, with 
one exception, belongs probably to the period of 
Louis XIV., when the immortal romance of Cer- 
vantes, was still, comparatively speaking, in its 
premiere jeunesse. Here are depicted Sancho 
Panza, Don Quixote, and the chief characters in 
that dramatic and wonderful piece of fooling. 

Serving as a foil to this, and occupying almost 
the entire length of the western wall, is a piece of 
tapestry representing the slaughter of the Mam- 
lukes at Cairo, when under the rule of Mahmud II. 
This is, of course, a modern production from the 
famous French atelier, and — like the older work — is 
a gift from the late Emperor. 

Those who know Cairo, will recollect the parapet 
of its Citadel, and the narrow passage below it ; 
pointed out as the scene of Mahommed Ali's massacre 
of the Mamlukes, in the year 1811. There had 
been a frightful slaughter of the Beys and their 


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Marlborough House. 53 

Mamlukes in 1805, when these unfortunates, falling 
into a snare laid for them by Mahommed, in a part 
of the main thoroughfare of Cairo called the Beyn- 
el-Kasreyn, suddenly found themselves between two 
fires. Some escaped, but others took refuge in the 
mosque of El-Barkookeeyeh, where they were 
slaughtered in the most brutal manner. All this 
was but a kind of rehearsal of what was to follow ; 
for, undeterred by the recollection of their betrayal, 
the Mamlukes walked quietly into a similar trap laid 
for them by the wily Governor of Egypt, six years 
later on, unsuspiciously accepting his invitation to 
be present at the ceremony of investing his son 
with an exalted military command. After being 
hospitably received in the Citadel by him, they 
slowly descended the steep, narrow road leading to 
the great gates. But as soon as the last of them 
had passed into this defile, the gates were closed, 
and the Governor's troops having, meanwhile, 
manned the walls and the summits of the surround- 
ing houses, poured volley after volley upon their 
defenceless victims below. A few of the Mamlukes 
attempting to fly, managed to scale the walls, only 
to be made prisoners, and afterwards killed in cold 
blood. Four hundred and seventy Mamlukes 
are said to have entered the Citadel, and but 
one — a Bey — is, traditionally, supposed to have 
escaped by forcing his horse to leap over the 
ramparts, himself alighting uninjured on the 
ground beneath. The very spot is, to this day, 


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54 Marlborough House. 

shown to wondering and credulous tourists of all 

On each side of this painting in needle-work, is a 
Florentine lamp of carved wood, upheld by an 
ebony arm, thrust as it were through the wall. In 
shape, these lamps resemble the fixed lanterns oa 
the taffrails and stern galleries of men-of-war in the 
last century. On dit that H. I. M. the Empress 
Frederick — whose appreciation of art is well-known 
— at once fell in love with them, and made up her 
mind to immediately order similar ones from Italy. 

Not far from each of these quaint lamps is an 
ornate black and ormolu pedestal, supporting a 
bronze, and on tall stands immediately below are 
marble busts — one, of the Queen of Denmark, 
the other, of the King of Greece. Everywhere 
there is fine statuary, its beauty emphasized by the 
surroundings of palms (Latania-Borbonica). On 
one of the cabinets stands a life-size terra-cotta 
bust of the Princess of Wales — an excellent like- 

Opposite the great Mamluke tapestry is a beauti- 
fully sculptured fireplace of purest white marble. 
The Queen-Anne overmantel is framed in carved 
oak and gold, and bears on the frieze of its middle 
panel the date, April, 1863, being the year when 
the Royal couple took possession of Marlborough 

Against the north wall are two Louis XIV. 
cabinets, exquisitely inlaid in coloured woods, with 


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Marlborotigh House. 55 

richly gilt ormolu mounts, and several lovely ivory 

Very artistically grouped are the couches and 
chairs, some having modern frames filled in with 
Gobelin tapestry of the Empire style, a present 
from the Emperor Napoleon III., as was also the 
tapestry screen. The old Gobelin on the square 
Louis XVI. chairs, is illustrative of-/Esops fables. 
Generally speaking, the more solid furniture is 
upholstered in this costly fabric, but the smaller 
pieces vary considerably, and have been purchased 
by the Princess from time to time. Two of the 
four doors are draped with heavy blue velvet, 
portieres, with tapestry borders. 

Like Her Majesty the Queen, the Princess — and 
for that matter, the Prince, too— is quick to notice 
if any piece of furniture or ornament is moved from 
its usual place, and at once seeks an explanation. 
A carefully prepared plan exists, with the position 
of the various articles marked thereon, thus 
immensely facilitating their replacement after clean- 
ing operations. 

In connection with furniture, it has been said 
with truth that both the Prince and the Princess 
have ever since their marriage done their utmost to 
encourage home manufactures in every department, 
and — with the exception of Eastern Art work, the 
tapestry, and the Sevres china — everything in 
Marlborough House may, broadly speaking, be said 
to be of British make. The journals of the day 


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56 Marlborough House. 

describing the preparations for the coming wedding 
in 1863, stated that "in the furnishing and decora- 
tions of the state apartments at Marlborough House, 
English art and English manufacture have been 
duly patronized. Spitalfields and Manchester have 
supplied the silk and damask, and Wilton the 
Axminster carpets, while the furniture has been 
made entirely in London workshops." 

Furniture-making and silk-weaving — two of the 
handicrafts of thirty-three years ago just referred to 
— are still the chief industries in the East-end. In 
the last century, the latter gave occupation to some 
60,000 people in the district. 

As a matter of fact, the old-established firm of 
Holland & Sons have always had the honour of 
" upholstering '* for the Prince and Princess both at 
Sandringham and in London, and their beautiful 
cabinet-work can more than hold its own with any- 
thing made abroad. 

Our Royal family's constancy to British manu- 
factures came well to the front three years ago, 
when, by express orders, the trousseau prepared 
for Princess May was exclusively of British make 
— East-end looms producing the pearl-white satin ; 
Ireland, the exquisite poplin ; and Scotland, the 
useful tweeds . and tartans, and it is said that the 
entire trousseau for Princess of Maud of Wales will 
be made in England. 

A perusal of the list of the Prince and Princess's 
warrant-holders present at the Annual 9th of 


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Marlborough House. 57 

November dinner, will show to what extent London 
tradesmen are patronized by their Royal High- 
nesses. And if any one be desirous of witnessing 
a scene of enthusiasm and loyalty, he had better 
contrive to be present the next time the holders 
assemble to enjoy the Prince's annual present of 
venison and to drink his health with honours. 

These warrant-holders occupy rather a peculiar 
position in the economy of London life. Over 
some insignificant-looking shop in a shabby neigh- 
bourhood, may be seen the Royal Arms or the 
Prince of Wales' feathers, but it does not follow 
that the proprietor is in possession of the certificate 
bearing the signature of Lord Colville of Culross, 
or Sir Dighton M. Probyn, which alone entitles 
him to be denominated a warrant-holder. He may, 
perchance, once have served some of the servants 
at Marlborough House when on board wages, and 
therefore imagines himself a *' Purveyor to the 
Royal Household " ; or he may be a butcher, who, 
at Christmas time, having purchased a royal " prize- 
taker," has been requested, according to a kindly 
custom, to provide a joint thereof for the Royal 
table ; or he may have put the Arms up simply as 
an advertisement, in ignorance of the pains and 
penalties thus entailed. These may be something 
terrible, for aught he knows to the contrary — so 
ignorant are most people on the subject — " some- 
thing lingering " as says the Mikado, ** with boiling 
oil in it." But, as a matter of fact, the '* Patents, 


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58 Marlborough House. 

Designs, and Trade Marks Act" of 1883, imposes 
a fine on summary conviction, not exceeding twenty 
pounds, upon any person assuming or using the 
Royal arms without authority. 

To lessen the illegal use of the Royal Arms, 
the '* Incorporated Association of Her Majesty's 
Warrant-holders " — originally established in the 
year 1840 under the style of the ** Royal Trades- 
men's Association '* — have recently done much ser- 
vice by pointing out to erring tradesmen, in a quiet 
and unobtrusive manner, the risk they run. That 
the Association's action is quite justified is shown 
by the fact that, in the metropolis upwards of six 
hundred cases were recorded of the Royal sign 
having been put up without authority. 

Needless to say that the Prince deals only with 
the best firms. Strict enquiries are made concern- 
ing them, and if taken into favour, they must supply 
the household for one year satisfactorily before they 
are even eligible for the warrant. Then, after a 
certain lapse of time, they can apply for the 
privilege, which is granted under very clearly de- 
fined conditions, the diploma embodying the name 
of each individual member of the firm to whom it 
is issued. In the event of change of partners, 
bankruptcy, or death, the warrant has at once to 
be returned. A too prominent display of the 
** Feathers " over an establishment, is not con- 
sidered to be in good taste, neither is the use of 
the certificate as a mere advertisement encouraged ; 


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Marlborough House. 59 

the latter is therefore frequently seen only inside 
the premises. The Royal warrant is rightly looked 
upon as a great honour. " We all of us/' said Mr. 
Algernon Graves, at one of the annual meetings 
of Her Majesty's Warrant-holders, " lay great store 
on our warrants. It is a species of * Peerage for 
Trade.' " 

Annually the loyal warrant-holders celebrate the 
Prince's birthday by illuminating their premises, 
and by dining together in true British fashion — ^a 
custom of thirty -seven years' standing. Last year 
they met to the number of 300 at the Whitehall 
Rooms, Northumberland Avenue, when, after a 
splendid banquet — the tables profuse with beautiful 
floral adjuncts — a list of loyal toasts was received 
with the utmost enthusiasm deepened by the receipt 
of a telegram — read out by the Chairman, Mn 
Algernon Graves — from Sir Francis KnoUys, ex- 
pressing his thanks for the loyal message he had 
just received from their President. In the menu, 
the piece de resistance or rather d'honneur is 
invariably venison from two fine bucks sent by the 
Queen and the Prince of Wales. The wines are 
always excellent, and at dessert, the good old fashion 
of drinking port wine prevails. 


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6o Marlborough House. 



Amongst all the countless entertainments given on 
the evening following the national carnival on Epsom 
Downs, not one is so well organized and perfect in 
its way as the Derby Day Dinner annually given 
by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to the 
members of the Jockey Club, in the large dining- 
room at Marlborough House. For many years the 
late Lord Wilton had been in the habit of giving a 
big dinner to the members of the club at his house 
in Grosvenor Square on the Monday preceding 
the great race ; and on his death, in the year 1885, 
the Prince continued the practice with the happiest 

On no evening in the year are the favourite dining- 
resorts of Londoners so crowded as on the Derby 
Day, nor does any function of the season bring with 
it so much responsibility and taxation of resource to 
restaurateurs and public caterers generally. The 
"Savoy," the "Grand," the "Metropole," the 
" Bristol," the " Continental," Spiers and Pond, the 
"Cafe Verrey," Blanchard's, etc., clubs without 
number, private houses, and Coleherne Court in 


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o ^ 

s > 

i I 

z 5 

5 I 







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Marlborough House. 6i 

particular, where Mr. Edmund TattersalFs Derby 
Dinner is looked upon as an institution — ^all are on 
their mettle to provide fittingly for the celebration 
of the Blue Riband Day. 

In the state salle des /est ins at Marlborough 
House, the long table, with its covers laid for 
over fifty distinguished guests, is a fine sight ; 
but before entering into details thereupon, it 
will be as well to say something about the sur- 

As the inviUs enter from the drawing-room at 
the east of the building, they see before them a 
noble seven-windowed apartment over fifty feet long, 
with a^ ornate marble mantel-piece at either end, 
over which places of honour hang copies of Winter- 
halter's famous pictures of Her Majesty the Queen 
and the late Prince Consort. 

Immense Kentia palms in ornamental bowls 
stand on each side of these paintings, and in some 
of the windows are rare exotics in pedestal-sup- 
ported vases. 

Ornamental bracket groups of candle-shaped 
electroliers against the walls, show up the pictures 
to advantage, and there are more large ones here 
than in any other state apartment. 

Over the two north doors are oval-framed por- 
traits of the late Emperor Frederick of Germany 
and the Empress Frederick, who, herself an accom- 
plished artist, has contributed the other two over- 
door pictures of charmingly-painted flowers. 


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62 Marlborough House. 

From the South Sea House in Threadneedle 
Street, recalling the time when 

" Statesmen and patriots plied alike the stocks. 
Peeress and butler shared alike the box, 
And judges jobbed and bishops bit the town, 
And mighty dukes packed crowns for half-a-crown," 

came the portraits of the first three Georges, and 
there used to be also a painting of William IV. 

The panelled ceiling is very handsome, white, 
slightly relieved with colour ; the walls are hung 
with claret silk of a pattern copied from some old 
silk damask at Hampton Court ; while the cur- 
tains are of silk damask of the same colour, 
specially made by Fry and Sons, Dublin — having in 
the centre the Royal Arms, filled in with scroll-work. 
A Turkey carpet, resplendent in all the colours of 
the East — blue and white predominating — covers 
the floor. 

Not being over-crowded with furniture, the ser- 
vants have plenty of room to move round the 
splendid table, which has on rare occasions been so 
arranged and enlarged as to accommodate seventy 
or eighty guests. Very comfortable-looking are the 
chairs, upholstered in royal scarlet leather. There 
are a good many Minton vases about, and between 
the candelabra on each mantel-piece is a very pretty 
clock. Tall glass screens temper the hospitable 
glow from the glorious fires kept up in the winter, 
although Marlborough House is heated throughout 


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Marlborough House. 63 

with hot-air pipes from the basement. Beneath a 
fine piece of unframed tapestry occupying the 
middle of the east wall, is a remarkably handsome 
sideboard made by Holland and Sons. Like the 
rest of the furniture, it is of mahogany and gold, 
with the Arms of the Prince and Princess carved 
thereon in gilt. On grand occasions, the back 
is taken away, and its place supplied by a buffet 
constructed to display to the best advantage the 
magnificent plate for which Marlborough House 
is famed. 

At small dinner-parties — as stated in Chapter H. 
— the Indian room is used, tables being set there 
of different shapes, round, square, and sometimes 
horseshoe, according to the Prince's desire. But 
it is only in this stately hall, that the very important 
banquets are held. All strictly private and family 
dinners are given, as we shall see hereafter, in the 
reception-room on the first floor. 

Not only is the Prince of Wales the most charm- 
ing of hosts, but he is an ** excellent judge of the 
finer efforts of the cuisine," and entertains with 
refinement' and elegance both at Sandringham and 
Marlborough House. 

It has been well said that gastronomy com- 
mences with our birth, and continues until the 
point of death, when the last drop or morsel is 
taken to alleviate the pangs of anguish. Apper- 
taining to all mankind, it alike directs the banquets 
of kings and the suppers of peasants. Its study, 


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64 Marlborough House. 

therefore, is derogatory to none, and one of the 
loveliest of high-born duchesses — now many years 
dead — did not consider it beneath her dignity to 
compose and send down to her cook the menu of 
each day, equal to the inspiration of any master 
in the art. ' 

A dinner at Marlborough House in 1896 is a 
revelation of what high-class cookery can achieve. 
The Prince has in his chef, M. Menager, a practical, 
and no merely theoretical, disciple of the illustrious 
trio, Ude, Boucher, and Careme. He is well 
known in his profession, and came to the Prince 
of Wales from a certain establishment in Berkeley 
Square, where General Ellis was in the habit of 
dining, and who subsequently brought him to his 
Royal Highness's notice. His staff consists of two 
cooks, a confectioner, and eight or nine kitchen- 

Some of M. Menager s compositions are artistic- 
ally very fine. Upon many personages, however, 
of the highest distinction, this Gallic refinement of 
the culinary art is apt to be unappreciated, if not 
altogether thrown away. Is it not a fact that one 
of Her Gracious Majesty's favourite dishes at both 
luncheon and dinner, is the roast beef of old 
England in its various forms .^ At the great 
dinner given by the Queen at Buckingham Palace 
on the eve of her opening Parliament in person, 
January 26th, 1841, shortly after the birth of the 
Princess Royal, the menu contained amongst its 


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Marlborough House. 65 

relev6s, filets de boeuf pique braise aux pommes 
de terres and amongst the first entrees, bords 
de pommes de terre garni de palais de boeuf ^ 
while upon the magnificent buffet were roast beef 
and boiled round of beef. Did not George III. 
prefer boiled leg of mutton and turnips to the 
most sublime composition of his mditre d hotel? 
Was not Napoleon the Great inordinately fond 
of crepinettes de cochon ? a most horribly indi- 
gestible dish. Did not the great William Pitt, who 
hated entries, consume in preference to anything 
else enormous slices of bread-and-butter, or huge 
hunches of bread-and-cheese when he got the 
chance in his retirement at Walmer ? — and after all 
Pitt was not far wrong. As the £>aily Telegraph 
once said : •' Look at us. Here we have been 
eating it all the days of our life, and it comes 
up smiling at five o'clock every afternoon. Jam 
may endure for a while, but bread-and-butter is the 
old and faithful stand-by. Try all the substitutes 
you can think of, and in the end you have to dis- 
card them as unsatisfying. This England of ours 
might be worse — I think it would be better — 
without beer. Who shall estimate its social status 
were bread-and-butter banished for ever?" Then 
is there not a well-authenticated rumour that Her 
Royal Highness the Princess of Wales entertains a 
decided penchant for Yorkshire pudding .** And, 
are not the " tripe and onion " and " Irish stew ** 
days in certain West-end clubs, immensely appre- 


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66 Marlborough House. 

ciated by the members, who have to put their names 
down beforehand for these odoriferous dishes ? 

To return to the Derby Day Dinner. Last year 
about fifty-four invitations were sent out to the 
members of the Jockey Club, and of that number, 
only eight were unable to obey His Royal High- 
nesses command. Those present included the four 
Royal Dukes — Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Cambridge 
Connaught and York ; the Princes Christian and 
Soltykoff; five other Dukes; two Marquises; the 
Comte de Berteux ; seven Lords ; two Right 
Honourables ; two Honourables ; and ten untitled 

At these dinners, the usual custom is for the 
guests to assemble in the saloon, where they are 
welcomed by the Prince of Wales, and should the 
fortunate owner of the Derby-winner happily be 
amongst them, he is of course, specially congratu- 

Dinner — generally at 8.30— announced, the dis- 
tinguished company, wearing evening dress (uniform 
being eschewed on such occasions), proceed to the 
large dining-room, and take their allotted plates, the 
Prince sitting in the centre, facing the buffet. So 
excellent are the arrangements, that in no way are 
the movements of the small regiment of pages 
— ^looking most imposing in their state livery — 

One of these attendants is told off to wait upon 
each Royal guest, and one to each couple of 


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Marlborough House.. 67 

other invites ; so it goes without saying that the 
waiting is perfect, and that there is never a hitch in 
the smooth and stately progress of the banquet. 

Much thought is bestowed upon the preliminary 
details. The laying-out of the table is exceedingly 
good, and does great credit to the wine-butler, or 
"decker," whose duty it is to arrange everything, 
under the superintendence of the house-steward, to 
the satisfaction of the Prince, who does not disdain 
to watch the preparations. 

To the large majority of my readers the office of 
"table-decker" is perhaps unknown; and as at 
Marlborough House it is — minus a certain amount 
of state — the same as at Buckingham Palace, I will 
briefly describe what transpires at the latter, before 
the Royal table can be said to be fairly laid. First 
in order come the " upholsterers," who see that the 
tables, etc., are properly placed and fit to bear 
their important burdens. Then the table-deckers 
arrange the table-cloths, linen on sideboard, napkins 
and glass, and provide each person with the ** staff 
of life." (The table-cloths are of the finest quality, 
worked with the Royal Arms, many of them having 
also the national emblems, the rose, the shamrock, and 
thistle, embroidered thereon. This applies equally 
to the table napkins, which are plainly folded into a 
small square to hold the bread, the fantastic shapes 
'so often seen elsewhere being utterly eschewed). 
After this preliminary canter, the serious business 
begins. " Yeomen of the silver pantry " enter and 



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68 Marlborough House. 


put into position the silver ; while the table-deckers 
fix the wax candles into the branching candelabra, 
and place the pots of flowers in their vases — ^some 
of them quite magnificent, and chiefly of china. 

Upon the big dinner-table at Marlborough 
House, with its exquisite glass and floral decora- 
tions, is always placed on this racing anniversary, the 
superb silver dinner-service ordered for the Prince 
before his marriage, and executed by Messrs. 
Garrards', of the Hay market ; its cost at a period 
when silver was quoted at a much higher figure 
than at present, may be estimated at from 
;^20,ooo to ;^40,ooo, but in artistic workmanship 
the value is fully there. Its principal feature is the 
centre-piece, a kind of plateau 7 feet 6 inches long 
and about 2 feet wide, together with two others 
each 5 feet long, which can be used at the sides 
or ends. The subjects represented on this mag- 
nificent table-ornament are various : — St. George of 
England, St. David of Wales, etc., the battles of 
Crecy and Agincourt, Britannia as protectrix of the 
Colonies, and a symbolical rendering of the Empire 
of India, etc., and it bears also the Royal Arms of 
Great Britain and Ireland, together with those of the 
Prince and Princess of Wales. It is so constructed 
that no decorations can well be placed upon it — 
doubtless a shrewd device of the designer, to pre- 
vent his graceful work being hidden by flowers. 

Of very ancient date is the use of centre-pieces at 
regal entertainments, none perhaps being more 


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Marlborough House. 69 

striking than that of the surtout or epergne be- 
longing to King James I. Pyramidical in form — " it 
was placed," says the Due de Sully, " in the centre 
of the Royal table, which contained most costly 
vessels, and was even enriched with diamonds." 

But the chief ornament at the Derby Day Dinner, 
is the buffet, to which all eyes turn, and upon whose 
adornment considerable skill is bestowed. It is 
furnished with a superb collection of plate — racing- 
cups, yachting trophies, gold and silver salvers, and 
other exquisite evidences of the perfection to which 
the goldsmith's art has attained in this country. 
These, reflecting back the light from the electroliers, 
produce one of the finest effects imaginable. 

After dinner — during which champagne usually 
makes its welcome appearance in hospitable mag- 
nums—coffee and liqueurs are served, and smoking 
becomes general, the Royal host — who throughout 
has been the soul of geniality — setting the ex- 
ample. Obviously there is much sporting con- 
versation — retrospective and anticipatory — plenty 
of dignified badinage, good stories told, and bon- 
mots uttered, but, alas! not recorded. Then an 
adjournment is made to the large drawing-room, 
where, usually, tables are set for whist — many 
of the guests devoting their energies thereto until 
perhaps one or two o'clock in the morning, when the 
company depart with renewed expressions of hope 
to their Royal host that the year may see his 
colours triumphant, both on the turf, and on the 


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70 Marlborough House. 

element, which, by means of the Britannia, he 
seems to have made specially his own. Here is the 
menu : — 

DINER DU 29 MAI 1895. 

Turtle Punch. } ^. Tort^eCUir. 

-' Bisque d'Ecrevisscs. 


Madeira, 182a Petites Truites au bleu see. Genoise. 

Steinburg Cabinet ,1857 Filets de Soles k la Norvegienne. 


Cotelettes de Cailles k la Clamart. 
Chauds Froids de Volailles k la Renaissance. 


Moet et Chandon Ranches de Venaison see. Aigre Douce. 

Mouton P5el^ au Champagne. 
Still SiUery, 1846 Sorbets k Pltalienne. 


Chambertin, 1875 Poussins Rotis sur Cinap^s. 

Salades de Romaine k la Fran^aise. 


Asperges en branches see. Mousseuse. 

Grouts aux Fraises k la Princesse. 
Chartreuses de PSches k la Montreueil. 

Gradins de Patisseries Assorties. 

Casolettes de Fromage k la Russe. 


Buissons de Glaces k la Napolitaine. 


Royal ta>*Tiy Port, 50 years old. 

Royal white Port 

Sherry George IV, 

Magnums Chateau Lafite, 1864. 

Brandy, 1848. 


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Marlborough House, 71 



Only in modern times has Royalty been able to 
obtain some approach to real privacy at a distance 
from, and yet within easy reach of the metropolis. 
In pre-railway days, Windsor, Kensington, and Kew, 
were the only places to which the Sovereign could 
resort when the cares of business were suspended. 

With the marriage of Her Majesty Queen Vic- 
toria to Prince Albert, a still stronger impulse was 
given to this natural desire of British Royalty — 
harassed by ten thousand anxieties — to " fly away 
and be at rest." Home-life in the country, so 
precious to the exalted couple, became possible in 
the Isle of Wight and at Balmoral, and with wise 
forethought was provided for the Heir Apparent 
by the purchase of the Sandringham estate. 

Admirably did the Queen when writing to King 
Leopold, express her satisfaction in having secured 
so delightful a retreat as Osborne. "It sounds so 
pleasant," she wrote, '* to have a place of one's 
own, quiet and retired, and free from all Woods and 
Forests and other charming Departments, which 
really are the plague of one's life." But absolute re- 


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72 Marlborough House. 

tirement is, and always will be, unattainable by 

Not long ago, being privileged by a certain very 
exalted personage on the continent to explore her 
magnificent castle, with a view to publishing an 
account thereof, I was in the most gracious manner 
allowed " the run of the place," and was afforded 
every facility for accomplishing my somewhat diffi- 
cult task. After going through room after room, 
and admiring the unparalleled works of art, there 
remained to be explored only the upper portion of 
the Schloss, containing the private rooms. 

'* And now. Baron," said I to the high-born court 
official to whose care I had been consigned, " I 
have done just half my work. When may I see 
the most interesting part of the castle, since you 
have so kindly intimated that I am to go every- 
where ? For an instant, an expression of perplexity 
shadowed the Baron's countenance, but quickly 
vanished, and I proceeded to point out to him how 
incongruous it would be to publish a description 
. that ignored the greater part of the building. My 
courteous cicerone saw the force of the argument, 
and at once made the necessary arrangements for 
my viewing everything. 

After looking into the plate-room, kitchen, wine 
cellar, linen-room, and all the working part of the 
large household, I found myself within the sacred 
circle of the strictly private apartments. I saw the 
couch whereon an Empress reposes. I saw the 


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Marlborough House. 73 

antique bed where an Emperor sleeps like any 
other mortal. I saw the most beautiful of boudoirs. 
I saw the chambre d cotuher of more than one 
charming and accomplished princess ; and I noticed 
on a dressing-table — well, in fact, I noticed all that 
there is of refinement and fashion in this kind of 
apartment in the mansion of any well-bred lady 
throughout Great Britain ; and — that is all ! 

I recollect being told that there were fourteen 
bath-rooms in this spotlessly clean abode of 
Royalty, and, no doubt, had I afterwards recorded 
this fact, it would have been duly appreciated by the 
public. Had I been of the more intelligent — I 
mean the gentler — sex, I might have catalogued 
with ready pen, the essentially feminine contents of 
these dainty sleeping apartments ; but I merely 
passed through them, and allowed myself to carry 
away only a general impression of what they were 

But, as in the case of Marlborough House, I 
know my feminine readers will not be content unless 
given a peep into that part wherein the Princess 
holds supreme sway, I feel sure their Royal High- 
nesses will grant me absolution, if I, for a few 
moments, with most loyal feeling, draw back some 
folds of the concealing curtain. 

On returning from a drive in the Park, the 
Princess of Wales, disappearing from public gaze 
behind the gates of Marlborough House, alights at 
the principal entrance, where two fine specimens of 


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74 Marlborough House. 

the genus " Jeames de la Pluche " aid her descent 
from the landau, the gentleman-in-waiting, or other 
member of the household in attendance, receiving 
H.R.H. in the hall. A walk of a few yards takes 
her to the lift familiarly bearing her designation — 
and in a few seconds she is in her own special 
domain on the first floor. She can at once obtain 
access to her dressing-room, either by way of the 
gallery — ^before mentioned as running along the 
upper part of one side of the saloon — or by the 
east corridor through the reception-room, the first 
of her own particular suite of apartments. 

In the illustration of the garden-front of Marl- 
borough House, the position of these apartments 
may be easily identified, as all the windows 
pourtrayed on the first floor belong thereto and 
to the Prince's dressing-room, with the exception 
of three at the eastern end, which appertain to 
the Royal visitors' rooms. 

On the floor of the reception-room, margined 
with parqtieterie, is an Eastern carpet of the 
conventional pattern, described by some humourist 
as "like nothing in the heavens above, or in the 
earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth " ; 
but, nevertheless, beautifully harmonious in design 
and colour, and suiting to perfection the silk 
damask curtains, and wall-hangings of creamy- 
hued, figured, tussore silk, brightened by numerous 
pictures, principally oil-paintings, and some par- 
ticularly interesting sketches by the Princess. 


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Marlborough Home, 75 

Most of the furniture is gilt, and very pretty, 
especially one or two of the cabinets. 

This charming salle de reception is daily 
converted into a cheerful breakfast-room, where 
breakfast is served at from lo o'clock to 10.30, 
and when absolutely en famille, the Royal party 
have luncheon and even dine here. The footman 
places upon the beautiful oval table in the middle 
of the room, a circular top (folding something like 
a card-table), thereby considerably enlarging its 
dimensions ; the dainty gilt chairs are pushed away 
into corners, and, for the time being, cane ones are 
brought in and put round the table. 

Next to the reception-room is the boudoir, 
where only the Princess's relations and most 
intimate friends are admitted. 

Of course, everyone knows what a boudoir is — a 
lady's private apartment ; a modern rendering of 
the Saxon ^^ bour^ **^»r," an inner chamber or 
" bower " ; or, in up-to-date parlance, a woman's 
" den," where she, poor, persecuted creature, may 
hide away, and do what she likes, unrestrained by 
the presence of that fearful wild-fowl man; of 
which tyrannical species, an unprincipled member 
had once the audacity to remind his wife that the 
French derivation of her favourite retreat was 
bonder, to pout, or be sulky. 

Commanding a charming view from its balcony 
over the conservatory, the Princess's boudoir may 
safely be called the prettiest room in Marlborough 


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76 Marlborough House. 

House. Its dimensions are conveniently moderate 
— 25 feet by 23 — and since it is here that Her 
Royal Highness usually sits, naturally it is here 
that her personal tastes and predilection are most 
outwardly manifested. 

Some of the furniture is modern and some 
antique ; but it is almost all marqueterie, and 
variously upholstered, and generally covered with 
pretty red silk slips daintily frilled. In front of 
the fireplace is a delightfully cozy sofa, and lying 
about in all directions, are fancy cushions, etc., 
etc., suggescive of perfect repose and abandon. 
In winter, the fire in the hospitable hearth is fed 
with wood, the logs being kept in one of the iron 
stands so cleverly designed by Her Royal Highness 
for this purpose, a sample of which the public had 
the opportunity of examining at the Exhibition of 
the Home Arts and Industries, held in the Albert 
Hall last year. An Indian carpet and rugs cover 
the floor. The room is decorated in white and 
gold ; the walls are hung with satin damask of 
a chintz pattern on a white ground ; while the 
curtains are of Indian red silk damask. There 
are several beautiful inlaid cabinets, and a grand 
piano covered with an exquisite piece of 
embroidered work. Of course, the Princess's 
writing-table is very handsome, and arranged 
with a shelf containing innumerable family 
photographs and others, A bonbonnihre, filled 
with the latest thing in sweetmeats, is always 


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Marlborough House. *jy 

ready to hand, Her Royal Highness — like Henry 
III. of France, and his successor, Henry, King of 
Navarre — ^being remarkably fond of all kinds of 
delicate sugary cates. 

One of the Princess's chief delights is to bestow 
bon-bons upon all the children she knows. Well 
may the little ones speak of her as the sweet 
Princess ! 

Being necessarily somewhat crowded, there is 
little scope in the room for much embellishment 
in the way of palms, for whose scarcity more than 
ample amends is made by the profusion of lovely 
flowers, everywhere seen throughout the Princess 
of Wales' apartments. . Her Royal Highness 
might, indeed, be fittingly spoken of as Flora, 
the goddess of Spring-time, carrying with her the 
emblematical cornucopia, so great is her love of 
those blossoms " so blue and golden, stars that in 
earth's firmament do shine." 

At Marlborough House in the season, from 
three hundred to four hundred vases of cut 
flowers, constantly changed and kept fresh, are 
used every day in the various Royal apartments, 
necessitating the employment of two men ex- 
clusively for this work. The floral decorations 
at luncheon and dinner are always elaborate and 
beautiful, though' varying in quantity according to 
the number of guests. At State dinners they are 
superb. It is somewhat difficult to decide as to 
which are the Princess's special favourites — every- 


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78 Marlborough House. 

thing, from the lowly wild flower to the r^al lily, 
is welcome to her ; but probaby roses, carnations, 
lilies-of-the-valley, tulips of all colours, and violets 
command her greatest admiration. The latter — 
as I have elsewhere observed — are extensively 
grown at Sandringham for her delectation. But 
if this modest little plant be destined to develope to 
the proportions of the big Californian productions, 
• with blossoms large enough to cover a silver 
dollar, the forcing frames in present use will have 
to be materially enlarged. 

In their lavish use of flowers, the Royal owners 
of Marlborough House, apart from personal liking, 
are only adapting themselves to the universal 
fashion of the day. Nothing is more remarkable 
than the immense increase of florists' shops in 
London during the last forty years ; and the 
amount of money expended in fashionable circles 
upon bouquets, button-holes and table-plants, etc. 
is prodigious. 

Though perhaps not so ardent an ornithologist 
as the King of Portugal, the Princess has a great 
liking for birds, and has in her boudoir several 
canaries, bullfinches and other songsters. These 
pleasant little house companions have each their 
turn of favouritism ; from time to time the 
" cabinet " being changed at their Royal mistress's 
pleasure, when the retiring, but not disgraced, 
ministers are relegated temporarily to the large 
** spare " or ** new " room on the first floor, where 


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Marlborough House. 79 

no doubt they muse on their period of short-lived 
fame, and the uncertaint)' of Royal favour. 

At one time, the Princess had a beautiful blue 
pigeon, so tame that it was allowed to fly about 
loose in her rooms. Alas ! it went the way of all 
pets — an untimely grave received it, much to its 
owner's distress. 

In her early married days, Her Royal Highness 
took great delight in gold fish, which she kept in 
an ornamental aquarium, and loved to watch 
their graceful movements. Were she now to 
resume this fascinating study of the finny tribe, 
so increased are the facilities for obtaining new 
and rare specimens from the four quarters of the 
globe, that she might even keep as a pet the 
lovely little Paradise fish of China — described by 
the late Frank Buckland as possessing all the 
colours of the rainbow — or the equally beautiful 
Gourami of Mauritius and Penang, with its silvery 
head and markings of blue. 

As to dogs, everyone who has admired Luke 
Fildes' portrait of the Princess — the original of 
which hangs in the red drawing-room at York 
House — must have noticed the dear little Japanese 
pug, '* Facey," nestling in her lap, the reigning 
favourite at the time the picture was painted, but 
the statement in one of the Society papers that 
the Princess's maid held **Facey," conveying the 
idea that Her Royal Highness did not do so, is 
incorrect, as Mr. Luke Fildes assures me that it 


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8o Marlborough House. 

never left the Princess except on one occasion 
when she was too much engaged to hold it. So 
much for mere on dits. 

" Flossie," now alas dead, was formerly a great 
pet with the Princess, but quite a long list could 
be drawn up of dogs honoured by Her Royal 
Highnesses attention since she first came to 

Together with cats, the Princess's dogs used to 
race and romp about the private rooms almost 
unchecked by their kind-hearted mistress, though 
doing a great deal of damage to curtains and 
furniture, their " bill for repairs," so to speak, at 
the end of the month, being considerable. The 
Princess cannot resist taking notice of cats, 
whenever she meets with them. While strolling 
about the stud-farm at Sandringham, her attention 
was called to a small black kitten that had 
imprudently strayed away, and had returned to find 
the door of its cottage-home fast closed. By its 
piteous cries, it appealed to Royalty for assistance, 
and the Princess, at once comprehending the 
situation, went to the rescue, and lifting the latch, 
let the wanderer in, exclaiming with tenderest 
sympathy, ** Ah, the pretty little pussy, the 
poor pretty little pussy ! " 

Her Royal Highness is especially fond of Persian 
cats, and they abound both at Sandringham and at 
Marlborongh House, giving themselves great airs 
as is " their nature to." G. A. Henty, who has 


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Marlborough House. 8i 

studied the question deeply, tells us that the feline 
race has assumed domestic habits under protest, 
and that although individuals of the species have 
been made pets of since the days of early Egypt, 
they have never, throughout all their generations, 
developed reciprocal feelings of affection, and will 
rub their sides against the leg of a table with equal 
manifestation of love, as against their human master 
or mistress. But this is surely an evidence of per- 
verted taste not possible to a right-minded cat ; so 
let us pronounce the accusation libellous ! 

Had the Royal mistress of Marlborough House 
been bom a Roman patrician in the first century of 
the Christian era, however great her wealth and 
position, she would have had — ^as the author of 
** Pelham " expresses it — ^a mere pigeon-hole of a 
bed-room, and, like that of the beautiful Julia, her 
dressing-room adjoining would not have been much 
larger, and so dimly lighted, from the intentional 
exclusion of the sun's rays, as to require an eye 
accustomed to a certain darkness to distinguish the 
vivid colorings of the walls, the gold flowers em- 
broidered on the curtains that hung before the door 
communicating with the cubiculum, and the silver 
basin and ewer close by the dressing-table, which 
itself stood upon a carpet woven from the looms of 
the East. While had the Fates ordained that 
Princess Alexandra of Denmark had lived in the 
eleventh century, her bed-chamber, though more 
commodious than that of the Pompeiian, would 



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82 Marlborough House. 

have fallen far short of the elegance and re- 
finement of the present day ; and she would have 
had to submit to the absurd etiquette of the period 
which required that a solemn ceremony should take 
place every evening before the Royal lady retired 
to rest. Seated in a chair of state, her shoes were 
taken off, and her hair dressed. Right and left of 
her, according to their rank, sat great ladies of the 
Court watching the process; and behind them, 
wherever they could find places, the maids of 

Happily, the Princess belongs to our own time, 
a period of the highest civilization, when guests at 
dinner no longer throw bones upon the rush-laid 
floors, wherewith to regale the dogs, and when 
sanitation and systematic cleanliness are not quite 
unheard of 

Recent experiments in Edison's laboratory and 
elsewhere would seem to discredit the hypothesis 
that the earths' magnetism has to do with the un- 
questionable influence of position in sleep. Yet it 
is a well-known fact that many persons can only 
sleep well when lying north and south ; and a 
famous French centenarian went so far as to ascribe 
his longevity to having always taken his repose in 
that position. Therefore, it is pleasant to think 
that the arrangements of our Princess's bed-room 
enable her to put this theory into practice, whereby 
we hope that she, as a rule, obtains the sweet 
slumber so often denied to Royalty, though given 


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Marlborough House. 83 

to the "wet sea-boy perched upon the high and 
giddy mast.*' 

A velvet-pile carpet subdues every footstep in 
this room and the adjoining dressing-room. The 
furniture of beautiful light Hungarian oak- inlaid 
with purple wood and slightly gilded, contrasts 
charmingly with pretty little inlaid tables and quaint 
old bureaus from Denmark. These, with screens 
of various descriptions, comfortable sofas and useful 
small tables, the unpretentious armazon de cama — 
as the Spanish language euphoniously has it — ^with 
its chintz hangings trimmed with lace matching the 
window curtains, etc., produce a tout ensemble 
extremely light and pleasing. Lastly, there is a 
plain walnut book-case containing books used by 
the Prince of Wales during his University career. 

Extremely pretty chintz covers the inlaid ma- 
hogany furniture in the Princess' dressing-room, 
producing a particularly bright and charming effect. 
A dainty mantel border with curtains ornament the 
fireplace, surmounted by a mirror. The dimensions 
of the room are 25 x 19 feet (the bedroom being 
32 X 25 feet), but a mirror fitted into the angle of 
the door makes it appear larger. In the two 
apartments there are no less than six windows, 
very prettily draped, whereby a London sun 
loyally does its best in an erratic climate to 
oblige the Princess, and an extensive view is 
obtained across St. James* Park to the south, and 
over the old Palace, Clarence House, and Stafford 



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84 Marlborough House. 

House, to Buckingham Palace and the Green Park. 
Her Royal Highness s wardrobe-room — that in- 
dispensable adjunct of Royalty — is on the second 
floor over the kitchen ; that of the Prince being on 
the other side of the house over the offices. 
Ordinary people's garments can usually be stowed 
away in a comparatively small compass ; but to be 
a Prince or Princess entails the possession of such 
a variety of State-robes and uniforms, that it is 
hardly surprising to find a large apartment devoted 
to the housing of them, with every imaginable con- 
trivance for this purpose. In connection with this 
department, it may be mentioned that the Princess 
has two dressers and a wardrobe-woman. 

Of course, it is in the privacy of her own suite 
of rooms that the Princess does most of her work, 
and indulges to the full her particular tastes. In 
the pre-eminently feminine accomplishment of 
needlework she excels, and, as everybody knows, 
she has a decided penchant for millinery. As a 
rule. Her Royal Highness designs her own 
dresses; that is to say, coloured pictures of the 
proposed gown are submitted to her, and she, with 
brush or pencil, alters the picture to suit her 
own perfect taste. When a gown specially pleases 
the Princess, she likes to wear it, and does not 
disdain even appearing in it a second season. 
Her Royal Highness is quite a collector ot 
old lace, and possesses some most exquisite 
pieces, many of great value. 


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Marlborough House. 85 

The Princess is very clever in designing chair- 
covers, worked with beautifully-blended shades of 
silk in a difficult, and but little known, Italian 
stitch ; and on the subject of embossed leather- 
work, she is an authority. 

That Her Royal Highness takes great interest 
in and encourages domestic industries in every 
possible way, is obvious, especially at Sandring- 
ham, where she has practically created the '* Alex- 
andra Technical School " — whereby already much 
good has been done in this direction — and 
maintains it out of her privy purse. 

The Princess has an easel in her private rooms, 
and gets through a fair amount of drawing ; but 
painting, either in oil or water colours, she does only 
in her studio below. Up here, she has her music- 
lessons — alas ! no longer from Sir Charles Halle. 

Both the Prince and Princess have always 
evinced the deepest interest and belief in " the 
sweet power of music." His Royal Highness, 
although no executant himself, has been, as 
everybody knows, the prime mover in the founding 
of perhaps, for its age, the most successful College 
of Music in the world, whose students have not 
infrequently had the privilege of performing at 
concerts held at Marlborough House. 

Amongst the host of distinguished musicians 
who from time to time have appeared there, may 
be mentioned the late Sir Charles Hall6, his wife, 
and Mdlle. Neruda — all three great favourites — the 


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86 Marlborough House. 

latter of whom had the honour of instructing the 
young Princesses in the pianoforte; Sir Arthur 
Sullivan, Sir Walter Parratt, Sir William Cusins, 
Professor Bridge, Madame Albani, and Madame 
Patti. But Her Royal Highnesss special pleasure 
is the very kindly one of listening to, and 
encouraging debutantes, and Miss Ethel Sharpe's 
experience at Marlborough House might here be 
related as an example. 

On May 31st, 1895, Miss Sharpe went there to 
accompany the young Danish 'cellist, Herr Henry 
Bramsen. They were received by Miss KnoUys — 
who, by-the-way, is a good pianiste — and were 
ushered into the Princess's boudoir, which Her 
Royal Highness, and the Princesses Victoria and 
Maud, shortly afterwards entered. Several pieces 
were played, and the Princess appeared to be 
much pleased, and desired them to go on playing. 
Her Royal Highness afterwards talked — chiefly 
on the subject of music — to both the per- 
formers in the most friendly manner. Herr 
Bramsen could not speak a word of English, and 
was delighted when the Princess addressed him in 
his own familiar tongue. During the playing of a 
very quick movement. Miss Sharpe, in attempting 
to *'turn over" for herself, accidentally let the 
piece of music fall to the ground. Instantly, the 
Princess jumped up with the intention of restor- 
ing it to its place on the piano, but the 
artiste anticipated her gracious intentions. 


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Marlborough House. 87 

After playing about an hour (the instrument 
used was a 300 guinea Steinway *' Grand," in 
beautiful ebonite case, selected by Signor Tosti), 
the Princess shook them both by the hand, and 
thanked them for the pleasure they had afforded 
her, and said she hoped soon to hear them 
again. No later than the week following — 
Sunday, June 8th — they were once more 
commanded to attend, and after luncheon arrived 
at Marlborough House, where Lord Colville of 
Culross cordially welcomed them. Soon after 
three o'clock they commenced their performance, 
which consisted of several solos for piano and 
violoncello, including works of Schumann, Chopin, 
Griinfeld, Popper, etc. 

Amongst those present were the Duke and 
Duchess of Saxe-Coburg, the Dukes of Hesse and 
Teck, and the Prince and Princess of Roumania, 
some of whom came forward and congratulated 
the artistes. Both the Prince and Princess of 
Wales remembered Miss Sharpe as being a 
scholar at the Royal College, when she played 
several times before them, and presented a 
bouquet to Her Royal Highness on the occasion 
of the laying of the foundation stone of the new 

" No words can express," says Miss Sharpe, 
*'the kindness and interest which our dear 
Princess showed to us. Although our surroundings 
and listeners were amongst the greatest in the 


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88 Marlborough House. 

world, yet Herr Bramsen and I seemed quite at 
home, and no one could help feeling so when in 
the presence of our Princess. Our appearance 
that Sunday led to our being asked the following 
Sunday, and we left with the kind words of the 
Princess in our ears, saying that she "hoped we 
would both come again some day, and play to her.** 

Her Royal Highness is an excellent pianiste, and 
plays well on the zither, and formerly was a fairly 
good harpist. She still sometimes amuses herself 
with the dulcimer, and is looked upon as a highly- 
cultivated, yet kindly, musical critic. 

In the large drawing-room, there are, as I have 
before mentioned, two " Broadwoods " side by side, 
and in the Indian room a fine ** Brinsmead. ' 
There is in one of the rooms an " Erard Concert 
Grand *' ; and in another a " New-Scale Steinway 
Orchestral Concert Grand " ; and, as we have 
seen, a " No. 2 Grand " by the same maker, in 
the boudoir. But there are pianos all over the 
house, including a few of foreign manufacture, 
one being by Hornung & M oiler, of Copen- 
hagen, strictly speaking, however, of German, 
rather than Danish, make. 

Thus, on every side there are evidences of the 
musical predilections of the Dtiblki University 
Doctor of Music and her daughters. Perhaps, it 
is not generally known that, at one time, the- 
Princess occasionally played pianoforte solos at 
private gatherings in aid of charitable institutions. 


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Marlborough House. 89 


THE prince's dressing-room AND ANTE-ROOM — 

Next to Her Royal Highness*s chambre a couchei^ 
just described, and reached by a corridor, is the 
dressing-room of the Prince of Wales. Between 
it and his private sitting-room is an ante-room, in 
one corner of which there used to be a spiral stair- 
case leading to the basen\ent. This was found to 
be inconvenient, and a door has been made through 
the wall into the office wing, so that the Prince's 
valet, who sleeps there, can have direct access to 
His Royal Highness's rooms without going a long 
roundabout way to reach them. In this ante-room, 
the Prince sees tradesmen, etc. ; in fact, it serves 
the purpose of a small and informal reception- 
room. Several trophies of war adorn the walls, 
\rhich, like the ceiling, are panelled in dark walnut. 
Representatives of many a West-end establishment 
here await the Prince's pleasure regarding some 
question of upholstery, sartorial art, etc., etc. 
Should it be some novice, in whom the bump 
of locality is not largely developed, who has thus 


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90 Marlborough House. 

to wait upon His Royal Highness, it frequently 
happens that he is overwhelmed with confusion, 
when, at the close of the interview, espying a 
partly-opened door in the corner, he takes it to be 
the one by which he entered, and backs towards 
it. ** Not that way," calls out the good-humoured 
Prince, enjoying the joke immensely, " that is my 
dressing-room," and after several frantic efforts, the 
distracted individual succeeds in getting clear of the 
Royal presence, and breathes freely once more. 

If by chance, this kind of interview comes off in 
the dressing-room itself, the act of withdrawing is 
still more difficult, for the doors when closed look 
like the rest of that side of the apartment, and are 
hard to detect. So between the unfortunate man s 
desire to pay every attention to the Royal instruc- 
tions, and his anxiety to avoid any gauclierie of 
demeanour, as he endeavours to retire, he has 
rather a trying time, made more so by the con- 
viction that the merry twinkle in the Prince s eye 
is not there without good reason. 

Blue tussore silk with white spots, a kind of 
handkerchief pattern, covers the walls of this 
dressing-room, the furniture being so placed on 
every side that only the upper part of this drapery 
can be seen ; nevertheless, the effect is good. 

A wardrobe is next to one of these masked 
doors, and adjoining it, another similar piece of 
furniture. The couch in front of the fireplace 
resembles a large divan with a head to it. About 


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Marlborough House. 91 

three feet wide, of brass frame work, and built low, 
it has a " scroll-head *' supporting the all-essential 
pillows. A peculiar and most artistic coverlet so 
deftly drapes this lounge — for this is what it really 
looks like — forming a frill at the foot, that it 
completely does away with any possible re- 
semblance it might bear to a bed — and no one 
would suppose it to be such. The rest of the 
furniture consists of a dressing-table, an easy- 
chair, and a few ordinary chairs. 

Two windows, looking west, are curtained with 
modern tapestry ; and this room — the same size as 
that of the Princess — is altogether an exceedingly 
cozy retreat, where the endless change of attire 
entailed by exalted position can be pleasantly 
and expeditiously effected. 

So rapidly can His Royal Highness array 
himself in evening dress, that on occasions when 
he has been detained by business until ten minutes 
of the hour fixed for a dinner-party, he has been 
known to effect the necessary transformation well 
within the time, and to come down to receive his 
guests, outwardly as cool and unperturbed as 
Wellington is said to have been before a great 
engagement in the Peninsula. His Royal High- 
ness has frequently donned Court dress — the 
decorations, etc., of course, being previously 
attached to his coat — in an equally short time. 
Only a man can appreciate the excellence of this 
tour de force. 


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92 Marlborough House. 

The Prince has two valets and a " brusher " ; 
also a courier, who acts as valet when necessary. 

Many years ago, the Right Honourable 
W. Windham, commenting on the advantages 
afforded him for study when staying with Mr. 
Coke — afterwards Earl of Leicester — ^says "of 
the modes of existence that vary from day to day, 
none is to me more pleasing than habitation in a 
large house. Besides the pleasure it affords from 
the contemplation of elegance and magnificence, 
the objects it presents, and the images it gives 
birth to, there is no other situation in which the 
enjoyment of company is united with such 
complete retirement. A cell in a convent is not 
a place of greater retirement than a remote apart- 
ment in such a house as Holkham." 

Although it cannot be called remote, the Prince's 
sitting-room probably affords him the same retire- 
ment as was enjoyed by Mr. Pitt's Secretary of 
State for War in this famous Norfolk mansion just 
a century ago ; for it is curious how entirely every 
disturbing sound of the great city's life is shut out 
from a large London residence, especially if it be 
detached, and a little away from the main 
thoroughfare. Though so centrally situated — in 
the midst of a police district embracing some 
half-million acres, covered with the habitations of 
close upon six millions human beings — in the 
very early hours of a summer's day, so quiet 
is it at Marlborough House that hardly a sound 


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Marlborough House. 93 

breaks the stillness, save the twittering of birds 
in the Park, and the faint occasional whistle of 
some distant railway - engine ; quieter indeed than 
many a lonely country-house, where, when once 
the sun is up, crowing cocks and barking dogs 
make sleep impossible. 

Situated immediately above the Comptroller's 
office, and, like it, commanding from its two 
windows the main approaches to the house and 
stables, it is overlooked by the Pall Mall clubs ; but 
as this cannot be helped, we must hope that it is 
congenial to the Prince s sociable disposition to be 
thus able to study mankind occasionally, as a diver- 
sion from strict business. 

This sancttarium or ** private cabinet of a 
Prince" — ^approached through two arched door- 
ways from the ante-room — is a good-sized room 
— 28 X 25 feet — but not too large for comfort, and 
here His Royal Highness conducts his very vast 
correspondence. For writing purposes he uses a 
pedestal table called a "tambour." His Royal 
Highness, the late Prince Consort, had a similar 
one made for him, in consequence of having had 
some of his private letters abstracted from his desk. 
But this kind of escritoire, shutting with a spring, 
and which can only be opened by a golden key in 
the sole keeping of the Prince, precludes any pos- 
sibility of its contents being tampered with. 

Such a thing seems improbable enough, but 
Disraeli the elder declares, in his " Commentaries " 


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94 Marlborough House. 

(vol. I.), that Prince Charles, when in Spain with 
the Duke of Buckingham, wrote home to King 
James I. that, "by the French Ambassadors 
means, the Spanish Ambassador has seen all the 
letters that we have written to you; you are be- 
trayed in your bed-chamber." "This, however," 
remarks Lord Beaconsfields father, "was trivial 
compared with the magnificence of our Ambas- 
sador's doings at Madrid ; for Lord Bristol declared 
there was not a letter sent by the King of Spain to 
any other State, of which James I. had not a copy 
before it came to the place of its destination. The 
Earl even got at the papers in the King of Spain's 
private cabinet and took notes." 

All round the walls, which, like the ceiling and 
mantel-piece, are panelled in dark walnut wood, 
runs a shelf, shoulder-high, containing the most 
beautiful and costly art objects, bronzes, and china. 
There are some small pictures hanging on panels 
and numerous brackets supporting more ornaments 
of every description. In fact, the room is abso* 
lutely full of bric-a-brac. There is also a life-like 
bust of the late Duke of Clarence, whose favourite 
dog " Vennie," a kind of silvery grey Irish terrier, 
is generally to be seen here with the Prince of 
Wales, who is much attached to it. An Indian 
carpet covers the floor ; the curtains are of velvet, 
and the furniture is upholstered in dark blue 
morocco. Of course there is a sofa, and several 
delightfully easy chairs, amongst the latter being 


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Marlborough House. 95 

one with remarkably comfortable curves, specially 
designed for His Royal Highness by a medical 
man in Harley Street. 

The Prince at one time had in this room a green 
parrot, of which, it is said, he became possessed in 
quite an accidental manner. Unlike most of its 
kind from Brazil, usually difficult to train, it was a 
capital talker, and when its Royal master, for its 
delectation used to hold up a small hand-glass close 
to the cage, the parrot, admiring its own reflection, 
would call out " Oh ! you pretty dear 1 Do let me 
kiss you ! " or something equally self-flattering. Polly 
eventually went to Sandringham, where it died. 

Although sometimes, the Prince joins the family- 
circle at the 10.30 breakfast in the reception-room, 
as a rule he is content with having that meal alone 
in his sitting-room, when it consists usually of an 
egg, tea — a beverage of which he is- particularly 
fond — and toast. 

In this respect, His Royal Highness is at one 
with an age, which has proclaimed the consumption 
of a hearty morning meal to be a lost art — at least 
on this side of the Tweed — and has pronounced two 
"square meals" a day, taken respectively at noon 
and night, sufficient for the generality of '* Society " 
people. At Sandringham, however, when the 
Prince breakfasts in company with the Duke of 
York, he sits down to, and probably partakes of, 
an elaborate repast, in deference, no doubt, to his 
son's less advanced ideas on the subject. 


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96 Marlborough House. 

On this floor, but quite on the other side of 
Marlborough House, looking south and west, are 
the Royal visitors' rooms — two bedrooms with 
sitting-rooms attached. This somewhat limited 
accommodation precludes all possibility of house- 
parties, such as the Prince and Princess delight in 
when at Sandringham, especially in the shooting 

In these bedrooms the furniture is in bamboo- 
style, and principally of pitch-pine, the curtains are 
silk and the carpet velvet pile. Whenever the 
King of the Belgians pays a visit to Marlborough 
House, he occupies the room with the southern 
aspect, wherein is a brass bed seven feet long. 
There used to be one measuring but six feet six 
inches, and the day following its occupation by His 
Majesty, a man of no slight stature, he made a 
humorous suggestion concerning his personal 
dimensions to his Royal host, and a bed with the 
necessary additional inches was at once obtained. 

In the sitting-rooms adjoining, the carpets and 
curtains are like those of the bed-rooms, and the 
furniture is of ebonized wood inlaid. 

Ascending to the second floor, we find the sitting- 
rooms and bed-rooms of the Princesses Victoria 
and Maud, directly over their Royal mother's apart 
ments. Simply, but well furnished in mahogany, 
their boudoirs are extremely comfortable, with rich 
velvet pile carpet, chintz curtains, easy chairs, 
couches, writing-tables, pianos, photographs, en- 


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Marlborough House. 97 

gravings, pretty work-baskets and bags, beautiful 
plants and flowers, and all the endless objects so 
dear to the feminine mind. 

The signature of any one who has disappeared 
from sight, like Nansen — around whom the dark- 
ness and ice of the unknown North Pole has closed, 
whose sprawling autograph protected by glass may 
be seen at the Savage Club traced on the green 
painted wall behind the chairman's seat — is always 
more or less pathetic. But when the handwriting 
is that of one who has journeyed to the ** un- 
discovered country from whose bourne no traveller 
returns," it becomes sacred. Such is that of the 
late Duke of Clarence, seen in one of his sister s 
rooms. Entering the apartment one day, he drew 
off his diamond ring, and with it wrote on the 
window-pane the date and his name, **Eddy." 
Shortly afterwards, the present Emperor of Russia 
happened to come into the room, and, seeing the 
Duke's work, followed his example by inscribing 
underneath, the name by which he was familiarly 
known, " Nicky." 

Last year, a pleasant surprise was planned by the 
Prince and Princess of Wales for their daughter. 
Princess Victoria. By a kindly conspiracy, they 
contrived that she should be absent on the evening 
preceding^her birthday. No sooner had she left 
Marlborough House, than a present was swiftly 
conveyed to her room, and the door securely locked. 
The next morning the young Princess was delighted 


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98 Marlborough House. 

and surprised to find there, one of Bechstein's 
mediaeval upright pianos in a dark mahogany case 
with gilt fittings, a gilt plate thereon, bearing the 
inscription, "Victoria. From Papa and Mama, 
July 6th, 1895." I^ was enthusiastically pronounced 
to be the nicest piano she had ever played upon, and 
as the young Princess is a capital executante, she 
should know something about the subject. Signor 
Tosti, who is a kind of informal musical director 
and adviser to the family, selected this instrument, 
and, indeed, several others at Marlborough House, 
where he is a great favourite. It will be remem- 
bered that this gifted artist was in the habit of going 
almost every evening to York House in the old 
Duchess of Cambridge's time, and singing to her. 

The young Princesses' bed-rooms are very plea- 
sant, and prettily adorned — unpretentiously fiir- 
nished in mahogany, with the usual couches, easy 
chairs, fancy tables, etc., the bedsteads being of 
brass. Their Eoyal Highnesses have each a 
" dresser ; " they have their own special footmen, 
two each-^one on, and one off, duty. That the 
young Princesses are devoted to their mother 
is no secret ; neither is the fact that they would 
have never been persuaded to leave her, to form 
any mere conventional alliance suggested by 
state policy ; their " hearts must go with their 
hands," and this is why the nation's sympathy 
spontaneously springs forth and blossoms abun- 
dantly as the day approaches for Prince Charles of 


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Marlborough Home. 99 

Denmark to claim his English bride. Under the 
admirable training of her mother, Princess Maud 
has developed all the excellent domestic accom- 
plishments which she shares with her sisters. 
Moreover, she possesses a buo5rant and vivacious 
disposition, that source of brightness in any home ; 
and, like her father, she is a lover of sport in all its 
forms. The sailor Prince from " over the sea " has 
scored a great success in winning so charming a life 
partner, and must be heartily congratulated. From 
time to time, shadows have brooded, and clouds 
have gathered, deepening into darkest night, over 
the home-life of Marlborough House, since first 
the voices of Royal children were heard in its old 
rooms. But the coming union so full of promise, 
may be the herald of brighter days, and a return 
of the sunshine and gaiety that seemed at one 
time always to smile on the home of the Heir 

On the east wing of the floor just referred to, . 
Miss KnoUys has an apartment — ^sitting-room and 
bedroom combined, the bed being screened off in 
one corner. The furniture is black and gold, and 
the room full of charming screens, photographs, 
ornaments, etc., and is exceedingly pretty, and the 
very essence of comfort. 

Adjoining is a room, used as a receptacle for 
odds and ends, but sometimes converted into a 

Turning back, we come upon three "visitor's 


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lOO Marlborough House. 

rooms/' all with maple furniture inlaid with purple 

Close to the young Princesses' apartments, is a 
room formerly occupied by their governess, Mdlle. 
Vauthier— " Maddie " as they lovingly called her 
— to whom they were devotedly attached, and 
who, after being with them thirteen years, left to 
be married to the wealthy Mr. Johnson, of Far- 
ringdon, Devon, formerly M.P. for Exeter. The 
wedding took place early in the afternoon of 
Saturday, July 26th, 1890, at St. George's, Han- 
over Square, and was honoured by the presence 
of the Prince and Princess of Wales, and the Prin- 
cesses Victoria and Maud of Wales. It was one 
of the weddings of the season. The sub-dean of 
the Chapels Eoyal officiated, assisted by the rector 
of Farringdon ; and when it was all over, the bride 
was most affectionately greeted by the Princess 
and her daughters. Amongst the innumerable 
presents were two massive silver bowls from the 
Prince and Princess, and a beautiful bracelet set 
with diamonds, rubies, and pearls, from the Prin- 
cess of Wales. 

This floor used to be called the " Nursery floor," 
and thirty-five years ago was the scene of a fire 
that originated near the Royal Visitor's room 
below, and which, had it occurred in the night, 
might have been most disastrous. The evening 
"special" of July 4th, 1865, startled its readers by 
the following announcement : — " Pall Mall was in an 


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Marlborough House. loi 

uproar this afternoon. H. R. H. the Prince of 
Wales' kitchen chimney was on fire, and the roof of 
Marlborough House was alive with footmen and 
grooms passing buckets of water from the cistern. 
Among them the Prince of Wales was seen to be 
working. Shortly, Lord Palmerston, Lord Derby, 
Lord de Grey and Lord Granville were there, and 
two fire-engines came. The fire was subdued just 
before we went to press." 

Such was the brief journalistic description of the 
incident. But Lieutenant Colonel Armytage, 
Captain of the Queen s Coldstream Guards, who 
was on duty at St. James* on the day of the fire, 
has kindly furnished me with a personal narrative. 

Sometime after luncheon at the Guards' Club, 
which overlooks the rear of Marlborough House, 
Colonel Armytage noticed smoke issuing from the 
roof above the east wing, where the Royal 
nurseries were situated. Suspecting something 
was wrong, he at once ran round to the Palace, 
and called out the Guard — some twenty-five in 
number — the emergency warranting this exceptional 
proceeding. They rushed for the fire-engine, 
which always stands ready in the Engine-Court of 
the Palace, and ran it across the road, and by the 
side-door into the garden. Instantly attaching the 
hose to the most convenient hydrant, they pro- 
ceeded to the scene of the fire to render all 
assistance in their power. There they found His 
Royal Highness in his shirt sleeves energetically 


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102 Marlborough House. 

turning water off from taps, which was conveyed 
by the servants in pails and large jiags on to the 
roof, where the fire was supposed to be situated. 

" I am glad you have come," exclaimed the 
Prince, to Colonel Armytage, and they both straight- 
way began to rip up with tomahawk-hatchets the 
whole of the floor, until at last the source of the 
mischief was traced to the ventilating shaft. An 
entrance effected to the cock-loft, revealed the exact 
position of the conflagration, and the hose being 
skilfully directed, the flames were soon extinguished, 
not, however, before the staircase was absolutely 
flooded with the continual stream of water which 
came pouring down ; so that when Captain Shaw — 
who answered the call to Watling Street with com- 
mendable celerity — ^arrived with his three engines, 
he could not professionally refrain from exclaiming 
** Hullo ! what's all this mess of water ! " the amateurs, 
in their zeal, having used an unnecessary quantity of 
this precious fluid. Naturally, the Princess was 
much alarmed, and her first utterance to the gallant 
Colonel was, ** Is there any danger .^ " to which 
question he was then happily able to give a 
reassuring reply. Together with her infant son, 
Her Royal Highness was removed to another part 
of the house, but she could not resist coming back 
from time to time to see what was going on. 
Some of the servants in an excess of precaution 
began to remove pictures and furniture, but were 
luckily intercepted, or the confusion would have 


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Marlborough House. 103 

been still greater. It was during the ripping up of 
the flooring that the Prince nearly fell through the 
rafters. He was as black as a sweep, and covered 
with dust from the old flooring, which was in a 
state of complete dry-rot. After Captain Shaw, 
who was left in charge, had restored the premises 
to a state of safety, Colonel Armytage withdrew 
his men to the Guard-room. 

In Captain Shaw's official report, he states, 
curiously enough, that the premises were not 
insured, a precaution since fully observed. 

To complete the description of the sleeping 
accommodation at Marlborough House. On the 
two upper floors over the offices, are bedrooms for 
the unmarried equerries, the librarian, and the head 
valet, Mr. H. Chandler, successor to Macdonald, a 
very smart, intelligent servant, who died a little 
while ago, and was much esteemed by the Prince. 

Above the domestic offices, overlooking the 
quadrangle, are the bed-rooms of the steward, 
chief cook, pages, and others. 

Lastly, on the top floor of the main building — 
added to the original structure during the extensive 
alterations in the year 1870 — the Princess's three 
dressers, the Prince's other two valets, and many 
other servants are accommodated. 

At one room only — next to that of the Duke of 
York's, on the second floor— do we pause. It is 
locked. But we know that within its walls, where 
everything remains just as it was at the time of the 


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I04 Marlborough House. 

Duke of Clarence s untimely death, are many of 
the playthings of his childhood, inanimate metal 
and wood, yet sentient and eloquent with the 
tenderest associations. What household has not 
some such reliquary, where tiny shoes and 
garments, never again to be worn by the nestling 
that has gone, or some battered toy once caressed 
by baby hands, moves to agony the sorrowing 
father and mother. "Never morning wore to 
evening, but some heart did break," since the days 
when our first parent mourned for Abel the slain, 
and David sent up that bitter cry for Absalom. 

Pessimistic is the tone of modern writing, and 
" vacant chaff well meant for grain " is all the 
consolation that much of our modem philosophy 
can offer to poor human grief. 

" That each who seems a separate whole 
Should move his rounds, and fusing all 
The skirts of self again, should fall, 
Re-merging in the general Soul, 

" In faith as vague as all unsweet : 
Eternal form shall still divide 
The eternal soul from all beside. 
And I shall know him when we meet : 

'* And we shall sit at endless feast, 
Enjoying each the other's good. 
What vaster dream can hit the mood 
Of Love on earth ? " 


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Marlborough House. 105 





And now, how did Marlborough House come into 
the possession oif H.R.H. the Prince of Wales ? 

Marlborough House and grounds are, and always 
have been, Crown property, as we shall presently 
see ; and it is somewhat remarkable to find Mr. 
John Timbs stating in his " Curiosities of London " 
(edition of 1885), ^^^ ^^ the year 181 7 the mansion 
was purchased by the Crown for the Princess 
Charlotte and Prince Leopold. 

On Friday, July 26th, 1850, the then Prime 
Minister, Lord John Russell, appeared at the bar 
of the House of Commons with a message from 
the Crown. Having been called upon by the 
Speaker, his lordship advanced to the table and 
said : " Her Majesty, being desirous that the 
mansion called Marlborough House should be 
appropriated as the residence of H.R.H. Albert 
Edward, Prince of Wales, after he shall have 
attained eighteen years of age, has recommended 
to her faithful Commons, to enable her to make 


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io6 Marlborough House. 

such provision as may most effectually accomplish 
the said purpose. "In pursuance of Her 
Majesty's most gracious message, I propose that 
the House shall resolve itself into a Committee 
on Monday next to take it into consideration." 

In the House of Lords, on the 29th of the same 
month, the Marquis of Lansdowne read a similar 
message from Her Majesty, but rather differently 
worded, recommending the House to concur with 
her in making the settlement. On the following 
day, their Lordships duly took into consideration 
the Queen's communication, and the noble Marquis, 
in moving that the address to the Crown in reply 
should be unanimously adopted, observed, " that it 
was only necessary for him to explain that the object 
of this arrangement was to secure in a suitable part of 
the metropolis, a fitting residence at a future period 
for H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. It might be 
asked why it was necessary to secure such a resi- 
dence at present ? The fact was it had occurred to 
the Members of Her Majesty's Government, and 
the suggestion had met with the approbation of Her 
Majesty herself, that it might be desirable to appro- 
priate Marlborough House, which had been vacant 
by the unfortunate death of the late Queen Dowager, 
to the object of displaying the collection of pictures 
which by the munificence of the late Mr. Vernon 
had recently become the property of the country. 
There was a general desire that that collection 
should be placed in a situation where it could be 


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Marlborough House. 107 

seen with advantage, and Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment thought that until a National building could be 
provided for it, Marlborough House might be 
appropriated for that purpose. But as that was not 
the ultimate object to which the Crown proposed to 
devote Marlborough House, it became expedient to 
secure it by express provision for the future resi- 
dence of the Prince of Wales. That was the main 
reason for making this arrangement, but economical 
considerations which were of great importance at 
the present moment were also in favour of it." 

After a few remarks from Lords Brougham and 
Redesdale, the Address was put and agreed to, 
nem. con. 

On the previous evening, however, the 29th, the 
proceedings in the Commons were not so uniformly 
pleasant. The House resolved itself into a Com- 
mittee to consider the Royal message, and after 
the Chairman had put the question, a discussion 
followed in which the financial economist, Mr. 
Joseph Hume, took a prominent part. He argued 
that it was premature to make any such arrange- 
ment, as the Prince was only nine years old, and 
that many years must elapse before the Mansion 
could be used by him. He denied that Marl- 
borough House belonged to the Crown, maintaining 
that it was originally built for the Duke of Marl- 
borough by the nation, and that it therefore 
reverted to the nation, and not to the Crown. 

Mr. John Bright was of opinion that no necessity 


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io8 Marlborough House. 

had been shown for settling the question at that 
particular time. 

Lord Seymour explained that the public revenue 
would benefit to the extent of £Zqo per annum by 
the removal of the old stables and the extension of 
Carlton Terrace. And the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer argued that the proposed arrangements 
would be most advantageous to the public, at which 
remark Colonel Sibthorp exclaimed amidst much 
laughter, " Oh dear ! " A division followed in a 
thin House. Sixty-eight voted for the resolution, 
and fifty-six against it, giving the Government the 
small majority of twenty-two, wherewith to send up 
the faithful Commons* address to their Sovereign. 

All this time the little Prince was quietly pursuing 
his early studies to the best of his abilities, and 
was probably unconscious of the business being 
transacted for his special benefit. 

The Act of Parliament, 13 & 14 Vict. Chapter 
78, is dated August 14, 1850, and it was thereby 
made lawful for Her Majesty by Letters Patent 
under the Great Seal, " to grant, settle, and 
assure all that Capital Messuage, or Mansion, 
called Marlborough House, situate near the 
Palace of St. James' in the county of Middlesex, late 
in the occupation of Her late Majesty Adelaide, 
the Queen Dowager, and all out-houses and other 
buildings. Courts, Yards, Gardens, Grounds, and 
Appurtenances to the said Capital Messuage, or 
Mansion, belonging or appertaining, to or in trust 


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Marlborough House. 109 

for His Royal Highness, Albert Edward, Prince 
of Wales, in such manner that he may have and 
enjoy the same immediately after he shall have 
attained the age of eighteen years, and thence- 
forth, during the Term of the joint lives of Her 
Majesty and his said Royal Highness." 

The Act — a very short' one — proceeds in its 
final clause to provide for the erection of suitable 
coach-houses and stables ; and for this purpose, 
empowered the Commissioners of Works to expend 
a sum not exceeding ;^5,ooo, to be derived, if 
possible, from the sale of the material of the old 
stables and coach-houses, formerly attached to 
Carlton Palace. 

After the Act of Settlement had received the 
Royal assent, and Letters Patent under the Great 
Seal had been duly issued, the historic old house 
entered upon a career of public usefulness by 
temporarily housing the Vernon Collection. 

In 1859, the sum of ;j^i 5,000 was voted for 
fitting the house as a residence for the Prince of 
Wales, it having become rather dilapidated, and 
the amount formed an item in the general 
Estimate for Royal Palaces, 1859-60. As time 
went on, it became necessary to prepare it for the 
reception of the Prince and his youthful bride, 
who took possession in the month of April, 1863 
— as inscribed over the fire-place in the saloon — 
and extensive and absolutely necessary alterations 
were commenced.'-''' 


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no Marlborough House. 

The three reception rooms on the garden front 
were converted into a noble apartment ; the two 
small rooms and spiral staircases flanking these 
three apartments were thrown into the two now 
known as the Indian -room and dining-room. An 
equerry's room, and one also for the lady-in-waiting, 
together with a portico entrance, hall entrance and 
corridor, were added to the north front. Suitable 
stables were built, and many other improvements 
elsewhere described, were effected for the future 
sovereign of Great Britain and his consort. 

In addition to these and other necessary works 
undertaken from time to time by the Crown, His 
Royal Highness has, since his marriage, expended 
upon repairs, alterations, decorations, etc. sums 
amounting to a totsd of over ;^5o,ooo, thereby 
greatly enhancing the value of the property. 

Electric lighting has been introduced throughout 
the house ; the offices have been embellished, and 
everything that could possibly increase the comfort 
of those around him, has been added by the Prince 
at his own expense. 

This thoughtfulness for others is an instinct with 
the Prince, and is constantly being translated into 
kindly actions, not only in connection with the 
gravest concerns of life, but with homely every-day 
occurrences. Not long ago, an employd who had 
served His Royal Highness for many years was 
temporarily invalided at Sandringham. While thus 
enjoying a rest from work, a hocky-party on the 


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S ^ 
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Marlborough House. iii 

frozen lake came off, in which all the Royal party 
took part, and the important post of keeping the 
goal was assigned to the convalescent. At the 
conclusion of the game, the goal-keeper, chilled by 
enforced inaction, commenced to pull off his skates 
behind a tree, but the Prince " spotted " him, and 
taking him by the arm, " commanded " him to 
** come and drink some hot wine," which he much 

Of state, properly so-called, there is none kept 
up at Marlborough House, though the household 
is arranged similarly to that of most Royal 
establishments — which are microcosms, so to 
speak, wherein each individual has his or her 
particular duty distinctly defined, thus described by 
Thackeray : " The King commands the first lord- 
in-waiting to desire the second lord to intimate 
to the gentleman-usher to request the page of the 
ante-chamber to entreat the groom of the stairs to 
implore John to ask the captain of the buttons to 
desire the maid of the still-room to beg the 
housekeeper to give out a few more lumps of 
sugar, as His Majesty had none for his coffee, 
which probably is getting cold during the 

At Marlborough House, the chief officials of the 
Prince of Wales' household, and the members of 
his domestic establishment are somewhat as follows, 
but their precedence one of another it is not in 
every individual case possible to define with 


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112 Marlborough House. 

absolute exactness. First in importance, if not 
actual rank, come the Comptroller, Treasurer 
and the Private Secretary ; then the Lords-in- 
Waiting, Grooms-in-Waiting, and the Equerries. 
After whom are the house-steward, the pages, 
valet, the piper, head-cook, and wine-butlers, the 
serjeant-footman and the footmen, ushers of the 
hall, pastry men, upholsterers and carpeg{ers, 
messengers, housekeeper, wardrobe-women, lady's- 
maids, dressers, housemaids, who together with 
the rank and file, male and female, constitute the 
serving and waiting department of this extensive 

The Prince, as a rule, expresses his commands to 
the Comptroller, who in turn communicates them to 
the house-steward. But the impulsiveness of His 
Royal Highness sometimes makes him over-ride 
etiquette, and, breaking the bonds of routine, he 
gives his orders direct to the functionary who can 
the most quickly execute them. On special 
occasions H.R.H. frequently communicates them 
personally to the house-steward. This individual's 
post, it may be readily understood, is a responsible 
one, and was for many years held by Mr. J. Cross, 
a tried and trusted servant who had previously been 
the Prince's personal attendant, when travelling in 
the east with the late Dean Stanley. After a voyage 
to Australia in search of health, he has now retired 
upon a well-earned pension, his place being taken 
by Mr. J. Blackburn, who at one time was serjeant- 


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Marlborough House. 113 

footman, and afterwards page- When the Prince 
goes to Sandringham or elsewhere, the house-steward 
travels in advance in order to arrange matters. 
During the day he wears ordinary dress, but when 
on duty in the evening his livery is like that of the 
pages, except that his stockings are black silk instead 
of white. He attends only big dinners, however, 
when he waits solely upon the Prince. 

As important, if not more so, is the post of chet 
worthily filled by Mr. J. Menager. 

His Royal Highness exhibits a refined interest in 
the daily menu, which, "composed" by the chef 
is always submitted to him on great occasions — 
and indeed at most other times — when perhaps the 
Prince strikes out a plcUj and inserts one he con- 
siders more desirable — ^his decision invariably being 
a good one. Upon the menu of the previous day 
His Royal Highness frequently writes his criticism^ 
for the chefs serious consideration. 

Although the Princess takes little or no part in the 
elaboration of the daily "bill of fare," should she 
desire a special dish — for even Princesses have their 
likes and dislikes — her orders are communicated 
through Miss KnoUys or the lady-in-waiting to the 
page, who conveys them to the chef. 

While on the subject of dinners, it may be in 
teresting to those not absolutely familiar with Royal 
etiquette, to hear that the Prince and Princess 
always sit at the side of the table in the middle 
being one another. 



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114 Marlborough House. 

Footmen, clad in scarlet coat and vest, blue plush 
breeches, white silk stockings, and low shoes, convey 
the dishes from the kitchen, while the pages *wait.' 
When an unusually large party is given, outside help 
is had in, chiefly that of retired Marlborough House 
servants, who, of course, don the Royal livery. On 
these occasions — ^as stated in the account of the 
Derby Day Dinner— one waiter is assigned to 
every Royal guest, and one to every two other 

Formerly at grand dinners the Prince was always 
waited upon by his favourite valet, Macdonald, a 
handsome dark young fellow fully six feet high, clad 
in picturesque jager costume. His father had been 
jager to the late Prince Consort, and was a splendid- 
looking man of a stature considerably over six feet. 
Since young Macdonald s death, however, the Prince 
has had no jSger, and is waited upon ordinarily by 
the pages, and — on greater occasions — by the house- 

Wherever the Prince dines — whether in the midst 
of a public assembly, or in the home of an intimate 
friend — his own servant accompanies him, and 
attends exclusively to him throughout the banquet, 
receiving the dishes, etc., from the general servitors, 
and handing them to his Royal master. 

This etiquette is observed towards all the members 
of the Prince's family. A friend of mine was much 
struck by the rapt assiduity with which the late Duke 
of Clarence was waited upon by his servant, at a 


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Marlborough House. 115 

banquet given by the then Chairman of the School 
Board, at the Goldsmiths' Hall, in the Jubilee year. 
By-the-way, the young Prince sat between the 
Archbishop of Canterbury and Mr. Diggle, and as 
the time drew nigh for him to respond to the toast 
of the evening, he turned to the latter — his host — 
and whispered, " I shall be very glad when I have 
got safely through with this," revealing a piece of 
paper concealed under his plate, whereon was written 
the heads of his speech. 

As to the pages, they are a superior kind of foot- 
men, and not necessarily youthful as one is apt to 
imagine. They wear a dark navy blue coat with gilt 
buttons, and black trousers, their State livery being 
a similar sort of coat, black velvet breeches, and 
white silk stockings with gold garters. They are in 
attendance in the rooms, and not upon landings and 

His Royal Highness is wonderfully considerate to 
his servants, by whom he is almost adored. In order 
to avoid discovering any dereliction of duty on their 
part (which seldom happens), he takes care that they 
shall receive an intimation when he is coming their 
way. This more particularly applies to his visits to 
the stables. Or should a servant happen to appear 
fatigued, the Prince at once observes it, and lets 
him oflF duty, substituting another in hi§ place. 

An interesting member of the domestic household 
who takes the part of an extra page is the Piper. He 
wears the Eoyal Stuart highland costume, and is 


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ii6 Marlborough House. 

supposed to (and often does) patrol the garden be- 
tween the hours of eight and nine in the morning, 
piping to wake the family. He also, when com- 
manded, plays outside the house while the family 

An important servant during railway-journeys, 
is the serjeant-footman. He presides over the 
"gentlemen's gentlemen," and arranges their 
liveries, etc. He, with the head-valet, always 
travels with the Prince, and occupies a small com- 
partment adjoining the saloon, to be readily within 
call. The only distinguishing feature of his dress, 
which like that of the other footmen is of Royal 
scarlet, is a red cord worn round the neck whence 
is suspended his badge of authority stowed away in 
his pocket. These two attendants must by this 
time be adepts in the art of railway-travelling, as 
their Royal master is incessantly moving about from 
place to place. As an example, take the month of 
October last (1895). His Royal Highness returned 
from Denmark on September 29th, and on October 
ist left London on a visit to Mr. C. Beckett, M.P., 
near Leeds, returning to Marlborough House on 
the 3rd. Two days later, he travelled to Deepdene, 
near Dorking, to become the guest of the Duchess 
of Marlborough and Lord William Beresford, 
coming back to London on the 7th. The next day, 
he started off to Newmarket, where he remained 
until the nth, and then went to Easton Lodge, 
Essex, to stay with the Earl and Countess of 


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Marlborough House. 117 

Warwick, On October 14th, His Royal Highness 
left Easton and returned to London, and in the 
afternoon quitted the metropolis to visit Mr. and 
Mrs. Vyner at Newby Hall, Yorkshire. On the 
19th, he arrived at Sandringham from Newby Hall 
and returned to Marlborough House on October 
2 1 St (Trafalgar Day). The next day, he again 
visited Newmarket, returning to London on the 

There would be fewer accidents if the precau- 
tions adopted when the Prince is travelling were 
universally applied. For instance, when the 
General Manager receives an intimation from 
Marlborough House that His Royal Highness in- 
tends journeying, say, to Wolverton, he immediately 
sends a notice to that effect to every station-master 
along the line, warning them to keep the line clear. 
Sometimes, in the case of the Queen, a pilot engine 
is sent on ahead, or plate-layers are stationed within 
sight of one another throughout the entire length of 
the journey, so that a mishap is almost impossible. 
The speed is usually at a uniform rate of forty-five 
miles an hour. Since safety is thus, as it were, 
guaranteed by their presence, no wonder that when 
the Prince and Princess patronize trains from which 
the outside public are not excluded, there is a rush 
for tickets by persons desirous of being conveyed by 
the same satisfactory means* 

These trips, by-the-way, are all duly paid for, and 
pretty heavy is the item of travelling in the Prince 


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ii8 Marlborough House. 

of Wales' annual expenditure. Some people seem 
to imagine that Royalty travels at the expense of 
the railway company shareholders, just as others 
hardly credit the fact that Royalty pay rates and 
taxes like all the rest of the oppressed and long- 
suffering army of householders — only heavier. 

The Princess of Wales* household is on a modest 
scale. Nominally — because not now in active ser- 
vice — her Chamberlain is, as everyone knows, Lord 
Colville of Culross, K.T., who has most worthily 
filled this honourable and responsible office for 
many years, escaping by force of his unquestioned 
merits, the envy and detraction so often directed 
against a man in his position. In his very early 
days he was in the army, and for twenty years he 
worked hard as the Conservative whip. He has 
twice been Chief Equerry and Clerk-Marshal to the 
Queen, and was once Master of the Buckhounds. 

Then there are the ladies of the bedchamber — 
" bedchamber women " as they are officially called — 
and the Princess's private secretary, Major General 
Stanley Clarke, C.M.G. 

One or other of the equerries together with one 
of the ladies-in-waiting, are always in attendance at 
Marlborough House during the season ; they do 
not sleep in the house, but come and go as required. 

It is upon Miss KnoUys — officially one of the 
bedchamber - women, but in reality Her Royal 
Highness' companion — that the attention of the 
public is generally fixed ; and with reason, for 


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Marlborough House. 119 

she is the Princess' umbra, and alter ego. Miss 
Knollys is always with the Princess, keeps her 
diary, receives visitors before they are ushered into 
the Rojral presence, and, being the soul of faithful- 
ness and kindness, has throughout her many years 
of devotion to Her Royal -Highness, done her 
utmost to make smooth the sometimes stormy path 
of Royal life. 

What is that life at Marlborough House like, say, 
in the middle of June and July ? And how do the 
Royal couple ordinarily pass the day ? 


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I20 Marlborough House. 



Most of the Royalties of Europe — the German 
Emperor, the King of Italy, the Queen R^ent of 
Spain, the Kings of Sweden and Roumania, the 
King of the Belgians, and the Empress Frederick — 
are early risers. But the Princess of Wales cannot 
be included in this category. 

About nine o'clock, a chota hazri is served to 
Her Royal Highness, who may elect to have her 
dijeHner proper in her boudoir, or with the family 
in the reception room — and it may be observed 
en passant that the Princess is particularly fond of 
plovers' eggs, which, when in season, are almost 
always found on her breakfast table. 

There are no hard and fast lines at Marlborough 
House as to the first meal of the day ; it being, in 
this respect, pleasantly unlike many otherwise excel- 
lently arranged houses, where, unless all the members 
of the family and guests appear at prayers preceding 
breakfast, the host and hostess look unutterable 

After breakfast, correspondence has to be attended 
to — letters containing every kind of application to be 


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Marlborough House. 121 

considered, and those from relatives and friends to 
be answered. 

The Princess may then do a little painting, some 
leading artist, perhaps, being consulted thereupon in 
the studio ; or " try over *' some new music ; occupy 
herself with embroidery, etc. ; hold solemn council 
on matters of dress ; or accomplish some photo- 
graphy, a favourite pastime indulged in, as a rule, 
in the garden. 

About eleven o'clock, when the weather is favour- 
able, little Prince Edward of York— '* King David" 
as he is affectionately called — and his baby brother. 
Prince Albert Frederick, leave York House in a 
dark-coloured perambulator, with their white-robed 
nurse, and, escorted by a stalwart police-officer 
in plain clothes, pass through the side door by the 
German chapel, to pay a long visit to their grand- 
mama and aunts. Prince Edward is a dear little 
child and is made a great pet of by everybody, 
romped with, kissed, and — as the author of Pick- 
wick has it — " handed about like something in the 
nature of refreshments.'' 

When the Princess calls at York House, she 
almost always goes on foot, and dresses so unpre- 
tentiously, that even the sentries have been known 
not to observe her, and have failed to present arms. 
Sometimes she walks thither alone — followed, of 
course, by a private detective. 

Then, too, there are morning visitors to be 
received, as a rule, in the reception room ; if very 


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122 Marlborough Home. 

intimate, in the boudoir. Later on in the day — 
though usually in the morning — ^the Princess may 
receive some deputation in the saloon ; or in the big 
drawing-room, perhaps a dibutante pianiste or singer 
(probably introduced to her notice by an intimate 
friend, such as the Marchioness of Dufferin and 
Ava), whom she delights by her kindly encourage- 
ment and unstinted praise. 

A morning drive is often taken, or some shopping 
done in the plain brougham ; but even this modest 
excursion is not always accomplished without annoy- 
ance, as, somehow or other, the news spreads that 
Her Royal Highness is in such and such an estab- 
lishment, and a small expectant crowd collects at the 
doors thereof. 

Luncheon, a bright and cheerful meal served at 
2.30, sometimes in the reception-room, sometimes 
in the Indian-room, is often an elaborate ceremony. 
The following is the menu of a dejeHlTur given 
in honour of the Empress Frederick of Germany, 
when twenty-two persons were present. 

Huitres naturel. 
Saumon Cisile^ Souch^. Sauce Genvoise. 

Tournedos D'Agneau k la Vatel. 
Chaudfiroids de Volailles Parisienne. 

Caultons Rdtis au Cresson. 

Pigeons de Bordeaux. 

Salades de Laitues. 

Asperges Froids k PHuile. 

Nectarines au Riz k la Coudd. 
Souffles Glacis k la Leopold. 



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Marlborough House. 123 

After luncheon, the real business of the day 
b^'ns ; the fulfilment of the endless engagements 
booked weeks and weeks in advance, which a resi- 
dence in London must inevitably bring to so exalted 
a lady. These assume an infinite variety of forms : 
the presiding over the proceedings of some charit- 
able institution ; the giving of prizes to successful 
competitors qf some guild or public society ; the 
laying of a foundation-stone ; the opening of a new 
hospital ward, school-of-art ; or — but this is seldom 
—of some splendid bridge within the Metro- 
politan area, etc., etc., etc. Then there are annual 
episodes, such as the viewing of the ** Trooping of 
the Colours " at an early hour from the old official 
residence of the Commander-in-Chief Now and 
again, ceremonials of an exceptional character have 
to be gone through : an Imperial Institute is opened 
with great splendour ; a Royal wedding takes place ; 
or Her Royal Highness holds a drawing-room at 
Buckinghzun Palace on behalf of the Queen. For 
this latter function, the Princess, with true motherly 
feeling, superintends the toilettes of her daughters, 
herself arranging the feathers in their hair, and 
giving all those finishing touches to their adorn- 
ment, beyond the ken of the masculine mind. 
And, by-the-way, this reminds us that in the old 
days when the Royal . children were in the nursery, 
nothing delighted the Princess more than to have 
an opportunity of donning a large flannel apron, 
and bathing her beloved little ones herself. It is 


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124 Marlborough House. 

also said of the Empress Frederick, that when her 
children were little, she used to take the greatest 
pleasure in brushing their hair the last thing before 
they went to-bed. 

But to return. A visit of an hour may be paid 
to the Horse Show at Islington, which the Prince 
and Princess seldom fail to patronize, or to the 
Military Tournament held in the same hall. Or, 
perhaps, they watch a polo-match at Hurlingham 
for a short time ; or honour with their presence a 
Fairy F6te at the Botanical Gardens, and give 
delight to hundreds of expectant little ones, par- 
ticularly when the Princess, struck by an entry 
representing her favourite Red Cross Society, in an 
impulsive moment bestows an extra prize upon 
some little nursing sister clad in silver and grey, 
amid shouts of sympathetic applause. 

The Princess has intense admiration for all 
bravery and acts of heroism, and now and again 
receives in the afternoon persons who have dis- 
tinguished themselves thereby. In the case of Mrs. 
Grim wood, Her Royal Highness with all her family, 
grouped themselves around her in the large draw- 
ing-room, and eagerly questioned her, listening with 
rapt attention to that heroic lady's modest account 
of her thrilling adventures and sufferings in Mani- 
pur, and of her escape bare-footed through the 
steaming jungle. 

Then there are private visits to be paid to 
intimate friends, and members of the Royal family. 


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is « 





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Marlborough House. 125 

Afternoon tea is served usually at five o'clock — 
in summer time often in the garden under the shade 
of the elm-trees, one or two guests frequently being 
present, when plenty of light, desultory talk goes on. 
Visitors may not call upon Her Royal Highness 
unless commanded (except to enter their names in 
the visitors' book) ; the Princess sending word, even 
to her intimate friends, when she desires to see them. 

After tea, a drive in the Park is often taken — the 
drive we all know. Then back to Marlborough 
House to partake, perhaps, of an early, hasty 
dinner, to enable the family to attend the opera, 
some premier or popular play ; though now that 
the electrophone has been installed at Marlborough 
House they are able to enjoy this form of entertain- 
ment quietly at home. Or the dinner may be en 
joyed leisurely and en famille at the usual hour 
of 8.30, followed by music, etc. Or it may be one 
of State — forty or fifty guests invited to meet some 
distinguished Royal personage. 

Besides the usual social ways of spending an 
evening either in their own home or that of their 
friends, there are at intervals State balls to attend at 
Buckingham Palace by command of Her Majesty ; 
or State concerts, when such singers as Patti, 
Macintyre, Ben Davies, and Bispham from their 
rather awkward gallery charm their hearers, and Sir 
Walter Parratt and his six hundred picked instru- 
mentalists ably overcome the defective acoustic 
qualities of the beautiful concert-room. 


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126 Marlborough HoTise. 

Sunday is a quiet day at Marlborough House, 
and, as at Sandringham, carriages and horses are 
used as little as possible, though the Princess always 
drives to Church, even when attending the Royal 
chapel close by (seldom patronized by her, however), 
and which she enters through St. James' Palace by 
Mrs. Martin, the housekeeper's room, by whom she 
is conducted to the Royal closet. This is not so 
much a pew as a small " apartment," wherein so 
many Sovereigns and Royalties of the reigning 
dynasty have listened, and often slumbered, while 
some famous divine has held forth ; and where 
George III. used to attend early prayers on the 
coldest of the winter mornings, and beat time with 
his roll of music while the anthem was being sung 

The Princess occasionally goes to Christ's Church 
in Down Street, and she used to be fond of the 
service in the German chapel, where she sat 
amongst the other people in the first or second pew. 
In the afternoon. Her Royal Highness sometimes 
goes to All Saints, Margaret Street, where her 
attendance is made manifest to the initiated — as 
indeed, at all the other churches — by the presence 
of the detective at the door. The Princess very 
much likes the service at St. Anne's, Soho, where 
she is frequently seen, and of whose "beautiful 
music " she often speaks with delight. In the even- 
ing, the Princess never goes to Church. 

It has been remarked that of late no notification 
of the Prince and Princess of Wales' attendance at 


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Marlborough House. 127 

any particular London church has been made in 
the papers. The custom of publishing it was 
discontinued because it was found that crowds of 
idle people swarmed round the doors of the church 
the Sunday following the announcement, in hopes 
of Their Royal Highnesses appearing, greatly in- 
commoding them on their arrival. 

Though the Prince retires to rest at a late hour, 
he rises about eight o'clock, and has his first 
breakfast about nine o'clock alone in his sitting- 
room. The amount of hard work he gets through, 
and his capacity for transacting the most important 
business is immense. As to the number of letters 
he receives, they alone would drive ordinary people 
distracted. But experience and tact enable him 
to dispose of his vast correspondence with celerity 
and exactness. Like that of the Queen, the 
contents of the Prince's mail-bag varies con- 
siderably, though the number of letters delivered 
during the year at Sandringham and Marlborough 
House, including those addressed to members of 
the household, cannot fall very far short of the 
number with which Her Majesty is accredited. 
With the instincts of a thoroughly business-man, 
the Prince — at any rate, in the morning— opens 
and peruses all letters addressed direct to him, 
reserving the most important communications for 
discussion with his trusted jidvisers, and the purely 
private ones for his own consideration. With 
r^[ard to the miscellaneous matter, he turns down 


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128 Marlborough House. 

the edges of most of it, and writes thereon a few 
words indicating the kind of reply he desires the 
officials in the room below to send out 

The nature of the unclassifiable mass of appeals 
is sometimes ridiculous enough. Some one 
yearns to know what hymn His Royal Highness 
likes best, or whether he collects walking-sticks. 
At one time, frequent requests were made for locks 
of the Royal hair — a loyal desire which even the 
tresses of Absalom would not have satisfied. 
People with grievances write to him expecting their 
wrongs — often imaginary — to be instantly set 
right. Letters from all parts of the globe are 
replied to as courteously and expeditiously as 
possible, without respect of persons. In fact, the 
humbler the applicant, the more certain he or 
she is to receive at least a gracious answer, 
even when the petition cannot be granted. 
As for " begging-letters " pure and simple, they 
come in shoals, and are seldom, if ever, entirely 
ignored. . 

To the branch post-office at the bottom of St. 
James' Street, is entrusted the great mass of " mail- 
matter " issuing daily from Marlborough House 
when the family are in residence, and, I believe, a 
slight extension of time is allowed in the despatch 
of evening mails, for the accommodation of Their 
Royal Highnesses. At Sandringham there is a 
regular post-office inside the house, where money 
orders can be obtained, telegrams and cables sent, 


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Marlborough Hotcse. 129 

precisely as in a public post-ofBce, Of course, it is 
only for the use of the household. 

From ten to half-past ten o'clock, the Prince 
generally sees his private secretary. Sir Francis 
Knollys, and afterwards the equerry, to arrange 
about the carriages, etc., required. The Comp- 
troller of the Household, as a rule, arrives at 
Marlborough House about eleven o clock, and is 
conferred with by the Prince, at some length, on 
the various subjects brought forward by the 
contents of the day's letter-bag, on the household 
arrangements for the day, and on his public 
engagements, made weeks in advance. Indeed, 
one has only to observe the doings of the Prince 
published in the papers day by day, to perceive 
how completely every minute of his time is 

Hardly is His Royal Highness's conference with 
Sir Dighton Probyn at an end, before he is due 
elsewhere — has some business appointment in his 
sitting-room, or perhaps a deputation to receive in 
the Indian-room, or a meeting to attend there (on 
which occasions a small table is previously carried 
in), etc. 

Sometimes the Prince strolls into the stables, 
accompanied by Lord Suffield or one of the 

Personally, His Royal Highness is most punctual, 
happily contriving, in Shakespeare's words, to 
"come pat, betwixt too early and too late," thus 



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130 Marlborough House. 

not making painful his punctuality — the only 
virtue Sydney Smith managed to render disagree- 
able, for he not only frequently arrived at dinner 
before his hostess was dressed, but went so far as 
to receive the remainder of her guests for her. 
The Prince, never wastes time himself, and he 
recognizes its value in others. On one occasion, 
a mercantile man, who had often been summoned 
to Marlborough House to give certain technical 
advice, arrived there, as usual, at the time 
appointed, and at once sent up his name. After 
waiting an hour, he was beginning to fear some- 
thing had gone wrong, when the Prince himself 
appeared, and good-humouredly exclaimed, ** Oh ! 
here you are, B. ! Why have you not sent up 
your name ? You cannot expect me to come down 
on purpose to see whether you have arrived ! " 
B. respectfully explained that his name had been 
given to the servant long ago; so the delinquent 
was sent for, and reprimanded by the Prince, who 
observed with considerable emphasis, " Recollect 
Mr. B.'s time is money," and might have added 
Nelson's dictum, " Time is everything. Five 
minutes makes the difference between a victory 
and a defeat." 

Before luncheon, the Prince sometimes goes out 
in his beautiful little brougham to pay friendly visits, 
or occasionally — but very rarely — he may be seen 
walking up St. James Street ; or the few passers-by 
in Ambassadors' Court may catch sight of him 


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Marlborough House. 131 

going on foot towards York House or Clarence 

Such an episode as a lev6e at St. James' Palace 
brings with it an entire break in the day's pro- 
gramme, and involves a considerable amount of 
fatigue, borne, however, by His Royal Highness 
without any visible or outward sign. He has to 
don his field-marshal's uniform, by no means over 
comfortable one would imagine in hot weather, and 
if it be a " collar-day," the full insignia of his various 
orders, and to stand from two o'clock until four, 
while a constant stream of gentlemen in levee dress 
file past him and make obeisance. At the conclu- 
sion of this function, the Prince occasionally receives 
at Marlborough House one or other of the Ambas- 

His Royal Highness necessarily has to preside at 
the periodical meetings of the council of his own 
Duchy of Cornwall. These are held, sometimes in 
the afternoon, sometimes in the morning, at the 
offices of the Duchy at Lancaster Gate, the last 
attendance including the Earl of Ducie, the Earl of 
Leicester, Lord Playfair, Mr. Charles Alfred Cripps, 
Sir Nigel Kingscote, Sir Dighton Probyn, and Mr. 

Most of us know that the Prince, like the Queen 
(the Duchess of Lancaster), is the first personage in 
a particular county ; but all do not perhaps remem- 
ber that the Duchy of Cornwall was originally pre- 
sented to Edward the Black Prince as a kind of 

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132 Marlborough House. 

private estate, which included all the " gold, silver 
and tin *' that might be found beneath the surface of 
the county. Until the birth of her eldest son, the 
Queen enjoyed the revenues of the Duchy, when 
they Were made over to the infant Duke. Needless 
to say that during his minority, H.R.H. the late 
Prince Consort so admirably represented him in the 
administration of the estate, that the revenues were 
considerably increased and the whole property placed 
upon an improved footing which has continued to 
this day, although the position of Cornwall — that 
land of soft climate and never failing flowers — is 
not so flourishing as it once was. 

Or His Royal Highness may have to take the 
chair at some gathering of quite an exceptional 
kind — to consider the interests, maybe, of a British 
school at Athens for the study of Greek archaeology, 
etc. At Marlborough House, he may preside over 
a meeting of Governors of Wellington College ; or 
a meeting to start a memorial fund for a deceased 
and popular soldier (as in the case of the late 
General Sir Charles C. Eraser) ; or, as President of 
the Council of the Society of Arts, present the 
Albert Medal to some fortunate individual. He 
may act as chairman on the committee of a Lady 
Halle, or other testimonial ; in fact, there are end- 
less meetings requiring his presidency, besides those 
of the British Museum trustees, and numberless 
institutes of which he is Chief. On behalf of the 
Queen, the Prince may open, at the Imperial Insti- 


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Marlborough House. 133 

tute, a congress on some such subject as the de- 
velopment of railways throughout the civilized 
world ; or in some poor neighbourhood inaugurate 
an institution for affording to a working population 
increased facilities for educating themselves in art 
and literature. Amongst the innumerable philan- 
thropic schemes which His Royal Highness has 
personally studied, is that of the "common lodging- 
house," involving now and again the opening of a 
block of new buildings. He may pay a private 
visit in his capacity of Patron — accompanied by the 
Princess — to one or other of the great metropolitan 
hospitals ; or he may go to the National Portrait 
Gallery, or inspect some special painting in one of 
the west-end galleries; or honour some world-re 
nowned firm such as Maple & Co., with his pre- 
sence. He may deliver an address at the Literary 
Fund gathering, on " the benefits which the modern 
world owes to the printing-press " ; or he may have 
to welcome at Charing Cross Station, some foreign 
sovereign on his arrival in London ; or receive some 
foreign minister accredited to, or retiring from, the 
Court of St. James ; or be present at a dijcdner 
in the Hall of some venerable City Company ; or he 
may put in an appearance at the House of Lords 
for a short time. Then there are the dinners in aid 
of funds for the multitudinous charities patronized 
by His Royal Highness, and once a year the 
Royal Academy banquet, which he generally 
attends. In addition to all this, the Prince does 


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134 Marlborough House. 

not overlook popular exhibitions, and disdains not 
a trip on the '* Big Wheel." 

But the foregoing gives an imperfect sketch of the 
varied and immense amount of work that the Prince 
gets through every day of his life in London. In 
short, as the Bishop of Rochester has remarked, 
'* very few people in England can rival the Prince 
as to the multitude of different interests and varied 
agencies for good with which, as the year passes, he 
comes in contact." 

His Royal Highness more than earns the welcome 
relaxation of the opera or theatre, or genial hour 
spent quite late at a smoking-concert after a dinner 
more or less formal, say at the " M^tropole," given 
by various regiments, or a banquet in honour of 
a retiring field-marshal, or — once in a generation 
maybe — of a popular commander-in-chief. 

Above all, I must not forget to mention that when 
the Grand Lodge holds its meetings in its old Hall 
— restored and beautified after the fire — His Royal 
Highness presides. Seated on a throne surrounded 
by its mystic symbol of a double triangle, supported 
right and left on the dais by his chief subordinates, 
the silk banners on golden poles grouped in front, 
while life-sized oil paintings of many a Royal Grand 
Master of the past silently look down on the solemn 
proceedings in which they can no longer participate, 
and the hidden organ rolls with weird reverberation 
along the wagon-shaped roof, the Prince, covered 
with splendid insignia and jewels, stands forth as the 


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Marlborough House. 135 

impersonation of all the charitable and benevolent 
instincts of our great Empire, which in the case 
of English Freemasons, last year found practical 
expression in their subscription of ;^65,ooo towards 
the wants of the poor and the afflicted. 

No wonder that with such a master nearly the 
whole of the personnel at Marlborough House are 
Freemasons, and models of discretion and reticence, 
and that the '* Marlborough House Lodge ** to the 
ordinary outside world is securely and thoroughly 
" tiled." 

All the beautiful jewels connected with the 
Prince's high office as Grand Master, are kept at 
Marlborough House, and carried backwards and 
forwards by a trusted official as occasion may arise 
for ceremonial laying of foundation stones and the 
like. One evening the gentleman in question had, 
as usual, charge of the ornaments, previously 
selected by His Royal Highness; but while engaged 
with the Prince in earnest conversation, one of these 
escaped his attention and was forgotten. The Prince 
did not notice the omission until later on, when 
perceiving a certain ornament on the neck of a 
prominent foreign and Royal Mason, the absence of 
his own was made manifest to him, whereupon His 
Royal Highness, turning to the officer, with a look 
of reproachful rebuke simply said, " You know I 
trusted to you, who are responsible for this,** and 
quickly recovering from his slight annoyance, never 
referred to it again. 


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136 Marlborough House. 

Before describing in the next chapter a few of the 
most interesting balls, dinners and f^tes given at 
Marlborough House during the Princes married 
life, I should like to refer to some of the officials 
who play so important a part in the household of 
the Prince and Princess. 

Sir Henry Ponsonby's death last year drew forcible 
attention to the enormous amount of work that 
attendance upon Royalty entails, and to the fact 
that absolute self-identification with the highest 
interests of a regal master or mistress, demands the 
exercise of those special gifts, remarkably developed 
in him — tact, and good taste. 

Royalty, all the world over, is much like some 
fair garden set out with fare and costly flowers, but 
environed by a formal and ceremonious ring-fence 
possessing however, certain legitimate entrances. 
It is one of the duties of the chamberlains, secre- 
taries, and all court officials, from the highest to the 
lowest, to see that no unauthorized intruder attempt 
to force his way through any accidental gap in the 
barrier, and pleasantly and courteously to let him 
perceive that though each leaf of the hedge be 
glossy and comely to look upon, it bears a goodly 
array of prickles. 

Not an entirely enviable position, perhaps, is that 
of these court officials, but one requiring considerable 
courage, and we must suppose this is why retired 
soldiers are so often chosen to fill the more important 
posts about the Sovereign. 


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Marlborough House. 137 

Both Major-General Ellis and General Stanley- 
Clarke are names familiar " as household words " to 
readers of the movements of the Prince and Princess 
of Wales, recorded in the daily papers. General 
Sir Stanley Clarke is secretary to the Princess, and 
in his capacity of equerry, has on more than one 
occasion accompanied the Prince on the Continent. 
His pleasant manners to all, are well known. When 
at Sandringham, he lives at Appleton House, a 
quaint old place about three miles from head- 

Major-General Arthur Ellis is one of the most 
active members of the Prince's staff, a thorough 
man of business, and one of the most accomplished 
art-critics in London. His beautiful residence at 
Portland Place, contains an infinite number of 
objets d'arty and is especially rich in Eastern arms 
of all kinds. 

Lord Suffield used to be in the Seventh Hussars. 
He is a fine horseman, and has been in his day one 
of the most daring riders to hounds. He is still, 
as ever, the model of fashion, and the soul of 
hospitality and good nature. He went out to India 
with the Prince, with whom he has always been a 
special favourite. 

That which Miss KnoUys is to the Princess of 
Wales, her brother. Sir Francis, is to the Prince — 
his alter ego. No need even to indicate his 
personal appearance, so familiar is it to everyone. 
He is the second son of the late Sir William 


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138 Marlborough House. 

Knollys — ^the first Comptroller to the Prince of 
Wales' household — and, as all the world knows, 
occupies the most important position of Private 
Secretary to His Royal Highness, managing the 
endless matters of detail at Marlborough House, 
often demanding the most delicate handling, with 
the clear perception and cool judgment that so 
strongly characterize him, and for which with other 
valuable qualifications he deservedly holds so high 
a place in the Prince s estimation. In addition, he 
is very kind-hearted, and his opinion on most 
matters may be depended upon, though of course 
like all mortals he is liable to error ; but who 
amongst us is exempt ? As an American diplo- 
matist dnce said "He who makes no mistakes 
makes nothing." 

Last of these brief sketches is Sir Dighton M 
Proybn, K.C.B., K.C.S.I., V.C, who, like Sir 
Philip Sydney the chevalier soldier, and like Bay- 
yard, is without fear and without reproach. Born 
in the year 1833, he entered the army in 1849, ^^^ 
served on the trans-Indus frontier from 1852 to 
1857. As all recollect, he was ever to the front 
during the Indian Mutiny, when his famous 
"horse" continually swept, like an avenging 
scourge, through the ranks of the mutineers. He 
commanded the 2nd Punjaub cavalry, and was pre- 
sent at the siege of Delhi. In the year 1889 the 
Victoria Cross was conferred upon him for dis- 
tinguished and numerous acts of gallantry through- 


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Marlborough House. 139 

out the Mutiny. At Agra, when his squadron 
charged, he got separated from his men, and, being 
surrounded, slew two of the rebels, and single- 
handed fought an infantry sepoy, whom he defeated. 
He also captured a standard in the presence of the 
enemy. ** These " said Sir Hope Grant ** are but 
a few of this young officer s deeds of gallantry." 
Sir Dighton, when in town, lives at No. i, Bucking- 
ham Gate, whence every morning he walks or takes 
a hansom to Marlborough House. Luncheon, if 
he desire it, he has in the royal household dining- 
room ; and when his family are out of town he 
sometimes makes use of the bedroom always at his 
disposal at Marlborough House. His delight when 
at Sandringham — where he resides at Park House, 
an unpretentious-looking villa just outside the park 
wall — is to look after the Prince's fine hackney stud, 
and his judgment is much valued on all equine 
questions. He always accompanies the Princess 
when in England, and it is almost superfluous to 
add that both the Prince and Princess repose the 
utmost confidence in him. Indeed, no happier 
selection could have been made than that of Sir 
Dighton Probyn in the year 1877 to succeed Sir 
William KnoUys in his responsible position as 
Comptroller of the Household. 

People cannot help being struck with one thing 
that characterizes all the male members of the 
Prince's Household, and this is their excellent mode 
of dressing, and the newness of their hats. No 


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140 Marlborough House. 

one ever saw any gentleman connected with Marl- 
borough House wearing one of Lincoln and 
Bennett s, or Heath's productions that was in the 
least degree shabby. Whether, like the colonel in 
a popular novel of last season, who every day 
seemed to have on a new one, they purchase 365 
hats in the year, is an unsolved problem ! But the 
fact that their head-gear always looks new, is indis- 
putable and interesting. 


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Marlborough Hotise. 141 



In the early married years of the Prince and 
Princess, it was their custom to give a ball, both on 
the anniversary of their wedding day, and at the 
close of the season. They were held in the drawing- 
room and Indian-room, and when very large the 
dining-room was made use of too, the orchestra being 
usually accommodated in one corner of the drawing- 
room, where it could be heard by all. 

A marquee, approached by a covered way, was 
erected in the middle of the lawn, where supper was 
served, and two other tents, one on each side, were 
used for the same purpose. 

Probably the most brilliant and interesting enter- 
tainment ever given at Marlborough House was the 
Fancy Ball, July 21st, 1874, rivalling in its complete- 
ness, the Queen's Restoration Ball at the time of the 
Great Exhibition. On this occasion the three large 
rooms were utilized, and the bands were stationed in 
temporary structures outside the windows. Opposite 
the garden entrance was the principal tent, there 
being another running up against the dining-room. 

As in the case of the Queen's Ball, in 1851, the 
announcement of the coming event created the 


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142 Marlborough House. 

greatest excitement in fashionable circles, and, 
punctually at half-past ten o'clock, the favoured 
guests, numbering nearly fourteen hundred, arrived ; 
singularly few of the invites being unable to obey 
the Royal command. 

Instead of restricting the costumes to one par- 
ticular period, the Prince and Princess wisely left the 
choice of dress to individual taste, except in the 
case of those who were to take part in the 
special set of quadrilles, whose attire had been care- 
fully planned beforehand, and who assembled in a 
room set apart for them, while the general company 
awaited their Royal host and hostess in the saloon 
and drawing-room. 

Lord Colville of Culross, as a cavalier, received 
and marshalled the guests on their arrival, the mag- 
nificence and beauty of whose varied dresses called 
forth frequent ejaculations of approval. 

Presently all eyes turned towards the door 
through which the Prince and Princess were ex- 
pected to appear, and, ere long, the strains of the 
National Anthem proclaimed their presence, and, 
preceded by six guards of honour, followed by 
Prince Albert Victor and Prince George of Wales 
in pages' dresses of white satin doublet, trunk hose, 
and short cloaks, to the music of a polonaise played 
with great spirit by the Hungarian band, they slowly 
passed through an avenue of admiring beholders, 
who could scarce refrain from openly expressing 
their admiration. Arriving at the other end of the 


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Marlborough House. 143 

room, they forthwith opened the ball with two 
quadrilles danced in succession, the Princess appro- 
priately heading the " Venetian," and the Prince the 
•' Vandyck" set. 

Lord Hartington, in grey satin and black velvet, 
j>ersonating to perfection the Venetian grandee, had 
the honour of having as partner the Princess of 
Wales, while to the Duchess of Sutherland fell the 
distinction of dancing with H.R.H. the Prince. 

Naturally the lovely and most becoming Venetian 
dress of the Princess attracted every one s attention. 
It was formed of an under-robe of pale blue satin, 
completely covered with gold embroidery and 
precious stones, while the over-dress was of ruby 
velvet, embroidered in gold and silver, lined with 
blue satin. Her Venetian cap of ruby velvet was 
literally covered with jewels, and it required no great 
effort of imagination to picture her as presiding over 
some magnificent reception at the Doge's Palace 
in the palmy days of the time-honoured Italian 

At the *Junior Carlton Club there hangs an 
excellent full-length portrait of the Prince of Wales, 
cane in hand, by Mr. A. Stuart- Wortley. It is quite 
in Vandyck style, the pose and dignified bearing 
being singularly like that of Charles the First, whom 
the Prince represented at this ball. His Royal 
Highness's dress faithfully reproduced the great 
painter's presentment of the martyred King. A 
short velvet cloak, whereon sparkled a diamond 


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144 Marlborough Hctise. 

star, set off his costume of maroon satin and 
velvet, a large black cavalier hat, adorned with 
a long drooping white feather, looped up with an 
aigrette of brilliants, high buff boots, long spurs, and 
sword, produced a most realistic effect, while round 
his neck hung the blue ribbon and jewelled order of 
the Garter; the long locks, de rigueur in such a 
personality, curiously altering His Royal Highness's 

The first two quadrilles were, as before stated, 
danced in succession, but the two following, viz., 
the "Card" and the "Fairy Tale" sets were 
performed simultaneously. Lastly, came the 
"Cavalier and Puritan" quadrille, carefully pre- 
arranged in every detail of dress, as had been 
the case v;ith those that preceded. When the 
Puritan ladies stood up to dance, each with a 
gallant Cavalier officer wearing the becoming 
uniform of the Life Guards of that period, their 
appearance was most bewitching. They wore 
caps, and muslin fichus over plainly made dresses 
of pale grey cachemire, short enough to display 
their pretty little buckle shoes. But their bright 
smiles and genial demeanour towards their partners 
completely belied the demure and decorous nature 
of their attire. The names of these delightful 
Cavaliers and Puritans were as follows : — 

Colonel Baillie and The Marchioness of Bristol 

Colonel Owen Williams and The Marchioness of Blandford. 


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Marlborough House. 145 

Hen. O. Montague and Countess of March. 

Mr. AVisham and Lady Walter Scott. 

Lord Carrington and Viscountess Folkestone. 

Hon. S. Egerton and Viscountess Duplin. 

Colonel Ewart and Lady Suffield. 

Mr. Johnstone and Lady F. Montague. 

Mr. Townsley and Mrs. R. Bulkeley. 

Mr. Percival and Miss Princep. 

Lord H. V. Tempest and Miss Graham. 

Mr. Duncombe and Miss Holford. 

All who took part in the " Fairy Tale " 
quadrille were warmly congratulated upon the 
strictness with which the old traditions of apparel 
had been maintained, and the consequent fidelity 
of their impersonations. H. R. H. the Duke 
of Connaught essayed, for once in his life, the 
character of " Beast," but so gently did he " do 
his spiriting " that he might conceivably have 
fascinated the lovely Miss Graham, who 
represented " Beauty." Viscount Mandeville was 
the " Fairy Prince," and danced with Lady F. 
Gower as the "White Cat." Lord F. Gordon 
Lennox as the ** Prince," had for his partner 
** Cinderella," represented by Lady Anne Coke. 
The Earl of Rosebery, as ** Bluebeard," was 
temporarily mated with " Fatima," in the person 
of Lady E. Fitzmaurice. And Mr. Albert Grey 
was a remarkably graceful '* Puss in Boots," in 
company with Lady M. Scott, the ** Mary, Mary, 
Quite Contrary " of our childhood. 



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146 Marlborough Hoiise. 

" The " Card " quadrille was danced by a perfect 
gathering of Royalties and other notabilities : 

The Duke of Athole and H. R. H. Princess Christian. 

Lord Suffield and Duchess of Athole. 

Mr. A. Rothschild and Marchioness of Queensbury. 

Mr. de Murietta and Miss Scobeloff. 

Viscount Duplin and Mrs. Keith Fraser. 

Hon. W. Gerard and Mrs. G. Forbes. 

Prince Civier and Hon. Miss Gerard. 

Count Montgelas and Donna Carraciola. 

Lord Claud Hamilton and H. R. H. Princess Louise. 

Mr. A. de Murietta and Miss Stevens. 

Viscount Vaurener and Hon. Mrs. Carrington. 

Mr. H. M. Stanley and Mrs. C. Forbes. 

Hon. H. Bourke and Mdlle. Musurus. 

Mr. Farquharson and Lady S. Macnamara. 

A somewhat remarkable feature in this ball was 
that mothers and their daughters danced in the 
same sets of quadrilles, and it was often hard to 
determine which of the two generations looked I 
the more beautiful — the magnificent costumes of 
the Vandyck period, being so specially becoming 
to a certain maturity of beauty. Never before, 
perhaps, had so many lovely women been seen at 
one and the same time in any square dance as in 
these fancy quadrilles. It was the realization of a 
poet's dream : — 

" A thousand hearts beat happily ; and when 
Music arose with its voluptuous swell, 
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spoke again, 
And all went merry as a marriage-bell." 


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Marlborough House. 147 

As the participators in these charming contre- 
danses gracefully took up their allotted positions, 
the on-lookers had an opportunity of studying at 
leisure their various costumes. Princess Christian, 
as " Queen of Clubs," carried out her personification 
in a dress of red velvet and silver tissue. Princess 
Louise, in blue velvet, represented the " Queen of 
Hearts." The Duchess of Manchester wore a 
Venetian costume in white and gold. The Duchess 
. of Leeds, in yellow satin, trimmed with pearls, and 
wearing a large hat with plumes, looked as if she 
had just stepped out of an old Vandyck picture. 
Her Grace the Duchess of Marlborough walked 
in the family ancestral home in the dress and 
character of Rubens' wife — black satin, trimmed 
with lavender, and with a long black veil for a 
head dress. As a Spanish lady, the Duchess of 
Wellington looked very handsome ; and the 
Duchess of San Theodo appeared in a perfectly 
gorgeous dress such as Titian loved to paint, and 
personated the Queen of Cyprus. 

These are but a few samples taken here and 
there from the bewildering maze of richly attired 
feminine humanity, the colours of whose dresses 
and the reflection of whose jewels, dazzled the 
eye and enraptured the artistic, sense. 

One could gaze upon Court beauties of the 
time of Queen Philippa, Charles VL of France, and 
of Charles IX. The period of Louis XVL was 
represented by the ever - youthful Marchioness 


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148 Marlborough House. 

of Aylesbury, in white satin and gold. Lady 
Diana Huddlestone was Marie Antoinette, a 
character whom the Honourable Mrs. Stoner 
had also selected to personate. Lastly, Miss 
Charlotte Knollys, as Charlotte Corday, completed 
these reminiscences of the Revolution and the 
Reign of Terror. 

The gentlemen made a brave show, and bore 
themselves right well, in spite of that secret uneasi- 
ness felt by every Englishmen when he puts on 
other than the orthodox dress of the nineteenth 
century. In the garb of Queen Elizabeth's Master 
of the Buckhounds appeared the Earl of Hard- 
wicke. Lord Strathnairn assumed the character of 
the Great Duke of Marlborough, and the Earl of 
Shannon was dressed to a nicety as an Irish 

Throughout the evening, Lord Charles and 
Lord Marcus Beresford, considerably enlivened 
the proceedings as Court Jesters, in the tradi- 
tional dress with cap and bells. Mr. Disraeli, 
then at the outset of his memorable six years' 
reign as Prime Minister, disdaining fancy dress, 
wore the official uniform of Her Majesty's Cabinet 
Ministers, with which he somehow seems always 
associated. At the conclusion of the special 
quadrilles, dancing became general to the strains 
of two bands — Coote and Tinney's, and the 
Hungarian — placed, as we have seen, in covered 
stands outside the windows of the Indian-room and 


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Marlborough House* 149 

dining-room, i.e., at the opposite extremities of the 
three ball-rooms. 

A magnificent supper was served in marquees 
erected in the garden, and, the night being fine and 
dry, it was most pleasant to be under canvas. All 
corners and angles were concealed by lovely banks 
of the choicest flowers ; the supper-table looked 
simply superb, and the whole scene was quite fairy- 

Up to a very late, or rather, early hour, dancing 
was kept up, and the sun had been long risen before 
the last carriage rolled away from the quadrangle. 

" All night had the roses heard 
The flute, violin, bassoon ; 
Till a silence fell with the waking bird. 
And a hush with the setting moon." 

Accurately to recall and describe every enter- 
tainment of interest connected with Marlborough 
House throughout the three-and-thirty years of the 
Prince and Princess's wedded life, is not within the 
scope of this work, the exigences of space admit- 
ting of references to but two or three examples of 
the overflowing hospitality of the Royal couple. 

Throughout the early part of the year 1863, 
Marlborough House was still undergoing repairs 
necessary for its occupation by the Prince and his 
young bride. But with the characteristic dilatori- 
ness of the British workman, it was not fully 
finished, nor were the *'men" out of the house 


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150 Marlborough House. 

when His Royal Highness and the Princess came 
into residence on May 28th of that year. 

An evening-party and ball were given on June 
29th, 1863, and there were a few small dinner- 
parties during the season, but no special festivities. 

In 1865, on the anniversary of their wedding- 
day, a dance was given. 

On the 3rd of June in the same year, Prince 
George (Duke of York) was born at Marlborough 
House, and a few days after the event. Her 
Majesty the Queen, paid a welcome and motherly 
visit to the Princess and infant son. 

February the 20th, 1867, was the natal day of their 
first little Princess (also at Marlborough House); 
shortly afterwards the Princess of Wales became 
seriously ill, continuing so for some months, and 
causing great anxiety to everybody. The Queen 
called frequently, and the King and Queen of 
Denmark came over to see their beloved daughter. 
To the great delight of the nation, the bulletins 
announced at last that a speedy recovery might be 
expected ; and on the loth of May, the infant 
Princess Louise was christened in the large draw- 
ing-room in the presence of an imposing family 

Soon after this. Princess Alice of Hesse arrived 
at Marlborough House on a visit with her children, 
but it was not until quite the end of the summer 
that the Princess of Wales was pronounced con- 
valescent, and able to leave town. 


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Marlborough Hous^. 151 

Five years later, on Thanksgiving Day, February 
27th, one of the most impressive processions ever 
witnessed in London, passed the gates of Marl- 
borough House, whose Royal owner had the pre- 
vious year been stricken down with an all but 
fatal disease. 

During the year 1875, the old mansion resounded 

with busy sounds of preparations for the Prince's 

departure on a prolonged tour through the Queen's 

Indian Empire, whence he did not return until May,. 

1876. The scene as he left London with the 

Princess from Charing Cross Station, was most 

impressive. Her Royal Highness travelled as far 

as Calais with the Prince, whom she did not again 

see for many months. 

From 1876 to 1887, all kinds of Royalties,, 
foreign Potentates, and notable people, were from 
time to time entertained at Marlborough House* 
In the latter year, the Viceroy of Egypt, Tewfik 
Pasha, was magnificently received by the Prince of 
Wales, who gave a banquet in his honour. The 
same year saw the inauguration of the " Derby 
Day Dinner " — given to the members of the Jockey 
Club — since become an annual institution. 

At an early hour on Saturday, March loth, 
1888, was heard 

'' The clash and clang that tells 
The joy to every wandering breeze," 

announcing far and wide the advent of the *' silver- 
Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

152 Marlborough House. 

wedding day " of the Prince and Princess. Un- 
fortunately, a day or two previously, the sad news 
of the Emperor Frederick's death had reached 
England ; and thus some of the festivities were 
postponed sine die; and, at the Prince's special 
desire, the military bands that otherwise would 
have played in the house, were countermanded. 
At 11.30, the Queen, who had come up to town 
from 'Windsor for a few days, drove over from 
Buckingham Palace in a carriage drawn by four 
horses. Her Majesty was accompanied by the 
Duchess of Albany, and Prince and Princess 
Henry of Battenberg ; the Dowager Duchess of 
Roxburgh, General Gardiner, and the Hon. 
Colonel Carrington being in attendance. H. M. 
the? Queen was thus the first to congratulate the 
Pri^e and Princess on the auspicious occasion. 
Hi^' Majesty, the King of the Belgians, and the 
members of our Royal Family, soon followed the 
Queen's example, and throughout the morning, 
the entire "staff of Marlborough House were 
occupied — as they had been the day previous — in 
receiving the endless gifts that came pouring in 
from all quarters — in some cases brought by the 
donors themselves. Bouquets and baskets of 
lovely flowers — those most graceful tributes of 
loyalty and devotion— came in shoals. 

All the Ambassadors called, and were personally 
received by Their Royal Highnesses. 

Of course, for the day, court mourning was 


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Marlborough Hotdse. 153 

abandoned, and the Princess looked charming in 
a pale cream-coloured costume, trimmed with lace. 
Her daughters — as usual, dressed alike — wore 
pretty spring-like costumes. 

In the interval between these visits of ceremony 
and the luncheon at Buckingham Palace, the Royal 
pair received some of the deputations in the 
Saloon, to each and all of which the Prince made 
most gracious and charming speeches. 

First in order, came the household servants, 
presenting a massive and symbolical silver tankard. 
Then the ladies who had twenty-five years before 
been bridesmaids to the Princess, brought a 
beautiful silver casket, which Her Royal Highness 
must have regarded with feelings of peculiar 
emotion. Next came the Danish residents of 
Newcastle, whose gift was an exquisite model of 
the Princess's old home, the Castle of Fridensborg. 
As head of the Committee of 365 ladies " person- 
ally acquainted " with the Princess, the Marchioness 
of Salisbury brought a lovely diamond tiara — their 
united gift. 

At 1.30, Sir Henry Ponsonby and other members 
of the Queen's Household were admitted, and 
presented a set of valuable silver vases. The 
Earl of Lathom, representing the Freemasons of 
Great Britain, gave a beautiful diamond butterfly 
to the Princess, accompanied by an illuminated 
address to their Grand Master. Fifty gentlemen 
— intimate friends of His Royal Highness — 


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154 Marlborough House, 

appeared next, with three magnificent " Pilgrim 

Two o'clock struck, and the entire family drove 
to Buckingham Palace to have luncheon with the 
Queen, and were loudly cheered en route. 

No sooner had they returned to Marlborough 
House, when they had to receive Sir Polydore de 
Keyser and the Corporation, who brought a silver 
model of the Imperial Institute, whose foundation- 
stone had been laid the previous year ; the Prince, 
in accepting this gift, made a most felicitous 

In the evening, a splendid banquet was given, 
remarkable as being the first dinner at which the 
Queen had been present at Marlborough House 
during its occupancy by the Prince and Princess of 
Wales. Her Majesty was accompanied by King 
Leopold II. ; and the guests included all the 
members of the Royal Family who could possibly 

The Queen, who wore mourning dress, was 
received on her arrival by the Prince and Princess ; 
and at 10.30 p.m. left Marlborough House, escorted 
by the Life Guards, and made a long detour on her 
way to Paddington Station through Pall Mall, 
Regent Street, and Oxford Street, to view the 

Nearly all the presents were arranged for inspec- 
tion in the Indian-room on long tables covered with 
blue cloth, richly embroidered in gold. Both fire- 


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Marlborough House. 155 

places were completely hidden by exquisite flowers, 
while the floral gifts^baskets of rarest orchids, and 
bouquets without end, filled the air with their 
Among the principal donors were : — 

H. M. the Queen — A gigantic silver flagon with snake 

handle curiously mounted. 
H. R. H. the Prince to the Princess — A cross of glorious 

diamonds and rubies. 
The young Princes and Princesses of Wales — A silver model 

of ** Viva," their mother's favourite horse. 
T. R. H. the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh — Sapphire 

and diamond ornament. 
The Emperor of Germany — A set of very fine China vases. 
The Emperor and Empress of Russia — Ruby and diamond 

Their Majesties, the King and Queen of Denmark — Two 

chests containing silver gilt tea and coffee services. 
The King of Greece — A gold punch-bowl. 
H. M. King Leopold 11. — Antique silver flagon. 
The Empress Eugenie — ^An exquisite model of H. M. S. 

the " Great Harry." 
Prince Waldemar of Denmark — A set of very ancient an d 

valuable silver spoons. 
H. R. H. the Duke of Cambridge — Silver cake basket. 
Their Highnesses Prince and Princess Edward of Saxe- 

Weimar — A silver cup, and beautiful cushion embroidered 

in silver. 


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156 Marlborough House. 

On the following day, Sunday, the Prince and 
Princess attended divine service in the afternoon 
at the Chapel Royal, Whitehall, the sermon being 
preached by Dn Magee, Bishop of Peterborough ; 
and thus fittingly closed the celebration of the 
twenty-fifth anniversary of their wedding-day. 

Of all the events that occurred during the year 
1889, the principal one was that of the marriage of 
Princess Louise of Wales to the Duke of Fife on 
Saturday, July 27th. Being the first wedding in the 
family circle, it naturally created great interest, and 
created no little excitement in the household, while 
to the public generally it was a cause of hearty 

After the wedding, the bride and bridegroom 
drove in the Duke of Fife's carriage, by way of 
Piccadilly and St. James' street, to the bride's old 
home, where a select garden-party had assembled, 
and where the numerous and costly presents were 
displayed. At four o'clock, the happy couple took 
their departure, the Prince of Wales leading the new 
Duchess to the open carriage awaiting her in the 
garden. The Princess showed considerable emotion 
when saying good-bye to her eldest daughter, and 
stood fondly and tearfully watching her until quite 
out of sight. 

Up to the year 1880, the garden-parties of the 
Prince and Princess of Wales (with the exception of 
their very first one, which was held at St. James's 
Palace) were given at Chiswick House, lent to them 


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Marlborough House. 157 

for this purpose by the Duke of Devonshire. It is 
an historical mansion, well known to society, in 
which Charles James Fox, and later on, George 
Canning, died. 

An immense picture, 16 feet by 7 feet (unfor- 
tunately destroyed by fire in 1879), painted by 
Chevalier W. Desanges, and entitled " A Garden 
Party at Chiswick," showed the lawn in front of the 
two groups of fine old cedars of Lebanon, with the 
Queen in the centre of a most distinguished company, 
and altogether gave a very fair idea of what these 
aristocratic assemblies were like. Subsequently, it 
was found to be more convenient to give these 
delightful entertainments nearer to the centre of 
fashionable life ; and, as all the world knows, they 
are now held annually at Marlborough House, and 
regarded as the culminating feature in the season's 

Amongst memorable garden-parties, was one 
given by the Prince and Princess of Wales in 
honour of the Shah's visit, which Her Majesty the 
Queen graced with her presence. It is the custom 
on all these occasions for the guests to alight at the 
Marlborough Gate entrance facing Friary Court 
not passing through the house — a privilege reserved 
for members of the Royal Family. Perhaps it is not 
generally known that the officers of the Household 
Cavalry on duty for the day at the Horse Guards, 
together with the officers of the Foot Guards, are 
always invited to these garden-parties, and appear 


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158 Marlborough House. 

in their uniform, thus adding life and colour to the 
already brilliant scene. 

Lowering were the skies, and falling was the 
barometer on the morning of July 5th, 1893, and 
faint were the hopes that the weather would be 
propitious for the great event of the season — the 
grand garden-party at Marlborough House on the 
eve of the Duke of York's marriage with Princess 
May of Teck. All the dismal meteorological prog- 
nostications resulted, however, in nothing worse 
than a grey, but sultry afternoon ; so warm, indeed, 
that it taxed all the energies of the attendants in the 
refreshment-tents to satisfy the tremendous craving 
evinced at an early hour for ices and iced bever- 
ages so lavishly prepared for the two thousand 
excited and expectant guests assembled in the well- 
shaded grounds to meet the Queen and to do 
honour to the joyful occasion for which the Prince 
had summoned them. (The catering for these al 
fresco entertainments is all done at home, except 
on special occasions such as this, when the resources 
of Gunter or Searcy are requisitioned for some of 
the lighter confectionery.) The compact crowd of 
visitors gathered round the porch through which 
the Queen was expected to pass down into the 
garden were doomed to disappointment, as Her 
Majesty, to avoid the necessity of ascending the 
steps from the main entrance, had her carriage 
drawn up outside the offices, and made her appear- 
ance in the garden through the adjoining side-door. 


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Marlborough House. 159 

She had been preceded by the King of Denmark 
who escorted the Princess of Wales, and the Queen 
of Denmark conducted by the Prince. 

Her Majesty, after taking a very short walk on the 
lawn, sat down in front of a beautiful Indian pavilion 
expressly erected for her accommodation at the 
western end of the garden, where, surrounded by 
Royalties, Highnesses, and Serenities, she partook 
of some refreshment, and subsequently held a kind 
of informal court, the distinguished company crowd- 
ing round her to see all they could of what was 
going on. A touching incident occurred, which 
must forcibly have reminded the Queen of Lord 
RoUe's attempt to perform his act of homage at her 
Coronation. From time to time, there were pre- 
sented to Her Majesty a number of persons with 
whom she freely conversed in a most pleasant and 
lively manner. Amongst them, was Lord Ebury, 
weighed down by his burden of ninety-two years, 
but who, in the ardour of loyalty, insisted upon 
kneeling before the Queen. Her Majesty very 
considerately forbade this effort, and spoke to him 
in so kindly a manner that the grand old peer was 
visibly affected. 

The Queen fluently conversed in their native 
tongue with two of the Indian Princes, whose 
gorgeous dress outrivalled that of most of the ladies 
present It was remarked with what a particularly 
cordial greeting the Queen received the respectful 
salutation of the Marquis of Salisbury, who paid his 


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i6o Marlborough House. 

devoir with the perfection of courtly grace and 

Mr; Holland Tringham with facile and faithful 
pencil has reproduced this historic scene. Many 
notables of the land are grouped about their 
Sovereign, in close attendance upon whom stand 
out in clear relief, the picturesquely-attired Indian 
servant, and the active figure of Sir Dighton Probyn, 
whose chief anxiety throughout that memorable 
afternoon, was to keep a clear passage for the 
august Lady, whose comfort he was specially 
charged to look after. Most energetically did he dis- 
charge his difficult task. The fashionable crowd 
became at times rather hard to control, and it is 
said that, in the excitement of the moment, and 
fearful lest the Queen should be in the least degree 
incommoded, he requested innocent Mr. Gladstone 
and our present noble Premier to ** stand back and 
make more room *' ! Certain it is that curiosity — 
excusable, perhaps — on the part of many in this 
aristocratic assemblage, for the time being eclipsed 
their good manners. Ladies excitedly jumped upon 
chairs, and strained their necks to watch the Queen 
drink tea, delightfully proclaiming their good view 
of this proceeding to the less fortunate ones below ; 
and when, at last. Her Majesty moved from one 
part of the grounds to another, they literally flocked 
after her with a rush and flutter somewhat alarming, 
and suggestive of bright insects encircling some 
attractive regal flower — 


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* I 

£^ ^ 











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Marlborough House. i6i 

" Thick swarm'd, both on the ground, 
And in the air." 

Whether, when the Queen rose to take her depar- 
ture, the Lord Chamberlain did, or did not, precede 
her with his wand, and by moral persuasion en- 
deavour to clear the way, must ever remain an 
undecided point. But that a certain amount of 
confusion prevailed there can be no doubt. 

Two military bands — the Royal Horse Guards 
Blue, under Mr. Charles Godfrey's care, and the 
Grenadier Guards, conducted by Mr. Dan Godfrey — 
played most excellent music throughout the after- 
noon. The programmes hung up in primitive style 
upon the elms — reminding one of Orlando's verses 
affixed to the trees in the forest of Arden for 
Rosalind to find — included amongst many sweet 
melodies, Mendelssohn's ** Wedding March,' 
Gounod's " Romeo et Juliette," Verdi's ** Aida," and 
some delightful dance music, composed for King 
Henry VHI. by Edward German. 

In the list of invitations for this grand f&te, were 
the names of every member of the British Royal 
Family, and every Royalty directly and indirectly 
connected therewith. Many Eastern Princes, 
Mahajarahs and Rajahs, Ambassadors and Diplo- 
matists, Peers, and Commons of Great Britain and 
Ireland, representatives of the Church, State, Army 
and Navy of India and the Colonies, were assembled 
within the walls of Marlborough House Garden. 



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1 62 Marlborough House, 

The following collation was served to the Royal 
party : — 


Filets de Soles CendriUon. 

Chauds Froids de Poulet Bagration. 

Petits Pains k la Russe. 

Bonne Bouches Princesse. 

Sandwiches Varices. 

Gelies Macedoines de Fruits au Champagne. 

Glace Vanille et Framboise Caf& Glac^. 

Eton Mess aux Fraises. 

Petites Patisseries Assorties. 
Les Fruits Varices. 

Claret Cup. Lemonade. 

Everybody was dressed remarkably prettily, light 
tints predominating — ^as at Covent Garden Opera 
House the previous evening, when white was chiefly 
worn — ^and the effect was most pleasing. 

Her Majesty was attired in black, save that her 
bonnet was trimmed with white lace, and white 
ostrich feather tips. She carried a black sunshade, 
edged with a puffing of white chiffon, also introduced 
at the ferrule. Her Royal hostess wore self-grey 
satin, with frills of creamy lace, and a bonnet of grey 
lisse, trimmed with a high white aigrette, and em- 
broidered with pearls and silver. Princess May had 
donned a cream-coloured satin dress, brocaded with 
groups of tiny red roses, her rustic straw bonnet, 
with dark red velvet strings, being also trimmed with 
red roses. 

Perhaps the most perfect gown worn that day was 


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Marlborough House. 163 

Lady Iveagh's. It was of the palest mauve satin, 
approaching the peach blossom in delicacy of shade, 
veiled with silk net, and inserted with bands of silk 
lace of exquisite design,- and of a particularly rich 
mellow shade of ficelle. The bodice was half con- 
cealed by similar lace artistically arranged with bands 
of insertion. She had on a wonderful little bonnet 
of pleated pale mauve lisse, trimmed with lace and 
shaded pansies, and her satin sunshade was covered, 
like her dress, with lace. Most of the guests wore 
the cream-coloured rose, historically associated with 
the House of York. 

After the Queen s departure the Princess of 
Wales, and others of the Royal Family, lingered for 
some time amongst the delighted guests, and it was 
fully seven o'clock before the brilliant gathering had 
entirely vacated the grounds. 



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164 Marlborough House. 




Marlborough House is so associated with hospi- 
tality that it is necessary to dwell somewhat at 
length on the subject of the dinners that have been 
given there. 

" An Englishman in Paris " has told us that Dr. 
V6ron, of the Paris Opera, once said : — " My dear 
friend depend upon it that it is a man's stomach 
which found the aphorism * Qui va piano, va sano, 
qui va sano, va lontano.* A man ought not to be 
like a boa-constrictor, he ought not to make diges- 
tion a business apart. He ought to dine and digest 
at the same time, and nothing aids this dual func- 
tion like good conversation." 

The Prince Regent long ago recognised this 
truism, and assembled around his hospitable board 
all the wit and talent of the day ; as did also Samuel 
Rogers, the poet-banker, whose entertainments 
given to his literary friends in his well-known house 
overlooking the Green Park, were famous for their 
" feast of reason and the flow of soul." 

On June 29th, 1895, a notable dinner was given 
by the Prince of Wales to the Shahzada Nazrullah 
Khan, when a distinguished party, numbering in all 


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Marlborough House. J 65 

forty-seven, were entertained, the following being 
the attractive menu. 


Tortue Claire. 
Consomm^ Printanier k Plmp^riale. 


Whitebait Naturel et k la Diable. 

Filets de Truite k PAndalouse. 


Escalopes de Volaille k la Richelieu. 

Chaudfroids d'Ortolans k la DemidofT. 


Selles d'Agneau Printani^re. 

Jambon de York Po^l^s au Champagne. 



Chapons au Cresson. 

Cailles sur Canapes k la Royale. 

Salade de Romaine. 


Petits Pois k la Frangaise. 


Timbales de P^ches k la Montreuil. 

Souffles Glacis k la Cardinale. 

Riz k rimperatrice. 

Petits Gradins de Pitisseries Varies. 

Petites Cassolettes k la Russe. 

Glaces k la Napolitaine. 

Petites GaufTrettes. 


But, alas ! the poor Shahzada s religious scruples 
forbade his partaking of any item therein, except 
the Riz d I' Imperatrice. Nevertheless, he dined 
well ; for he had brought with him his own cooks 
and his own provisions; the latter being specially 


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1 66 Marlborough House. 

prepared on a charcoal brazier in the open air in a 
passage situated between the kitchen and the 
stables, and served to him as he sat at the Prince's 
table. Wine, of course, he religiously eschewed, 
but on this occasion the temptation to swerve from 
his faith must have been great indeed. 

In the year 1893, ^^ Prince conceived the 
excellent idea of giving a series of representative 
dinners at Marlborough House, and in the space of 
a few months, eleven came off, all of which, both 
historically and gastronomically, were most interest- 
ing, as the following selection will show. 

On Wednesday, February 8th, was given the 
first of these dinners and represented the Govern- 
ment of the day ; the names of some of those 
present showing with what nice discrimination the 
guests had been selected : — The Duke of York ; 
The Duke of Cambridge ; H. E. The French Am- 
bassador, M. Waddington ; H. E. The Russian 
Ambassador, M. de Stael ; H. E. Count de Bylandt, 
Minister of the Netherlands ; H. E. The Belgian 
Minister, Baron Solvyns ; Earl of Rosebery ; Earl 
Spencer ; Lord Carrington ; The Rt. Hon. W. E. 
Gladstone ; Sir Vernon Harcourt, etc. 



Tortue Claire. 
Bisque D'Ecrevisses k la D'Orleans. 

Saumon Ciseld See. Genoise. 


Filets de Soles k la Valney. 


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Marlborough House. 167 


C6telettes de Poulets k la Mardchale. 
Cailles k la Souvarow. 


Pieces de Boeuf i L'Anglaise. 

Gigots de Mouton Poil^s S^pts Hres. au Champagne. 


B^casses R6ties Stir Canapes. 

Pourlardes au Crisson. 

Salade k la Portugalse. 


Asperges en Branches, See. Mousseuse. 

Beign^ts k la Vi^nnoise. 

Souffles D'Oranges k la Maltaise. 

Laitances k L'Americaine. 

Corbeilles de Glaces Varies. 
Gradins de Pitisseries Assorties. 

A dinner to the unfortunates in the " cold shades 
of Opposition ** came off on the 22 nd of the same 
month, with a sprinkling of foreign diplomacy, as 
will be seen from the guest list : — 

The Duke of York, the Marquis of Lome, H.E. 
the Turkish Ambassador, Rustem Pacha; H. E. the 
Austro- Hungarian Minister, Count Deym ; H.E. 
the United States Minister, R. T. Lincoln ; H.E. 
the Brazilian Minister, Chevalier de Souza Correa ; 
the Marquess of Salisbury, Earl Cadogan, the Earl 
of Mount Edgcumbe, the Right Hon. G. J. 
Goschen, the Right Hon. J. Chamberlain, etc. 


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1 68 Marlborough House, 


Tortue Claire. 
Crhne D'Asperges d la Sevigny. 


Saumon Cisel^ see. Moussduse, 

Filets de Soles k la Joinville. 


Petits Souffle k la Princesse. 

C6telettes de Becassines k la Perigeux. 


Dindes k L'Alg^rienne. 

Selles de Mouton k la Nivernoise. 


Cailles sur Canapes k la Royale. 

Canetons de Rouen k la Rouenaise. 

Salades des quatres Saisons. 

Asperges en Branches. 

Croutds k I'Ananas. 

Mousses de Mandarines k la Valencienne. 


Casolettes k la Russe. 

Melons Glacis k la Victoria. 

Patisseries Assorties. 


A week later another banquet was given, some- 
what difficult to classify, including as it did, repre- 
sentatives of Foreign diplomacy, Court officialism, 
Church, the Law, Art, etc. Amongst the guests 
were : — 

H.E. the Spanish Ambassador, M. del Mazo ; 
H.E, the Swedish Minister, M, Akerman ; H.E. the 
Danish Minister, M. de Bille; Lord Kensington, 
the sub-Dean of the Chapel Royal, Lord Esher, 
and Mr. Alma Tadema, R.A. 


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Marlborough House^ 169 



Fausse Tortue k la Frangaise. 
Cr^e D'Epinards aux quenelles. 

Turbots, Sauce Homards et Mousseuse. 

Petites Truites au Bleue see. G^n^voise. 


Supreme k la Parisienne. 

Salmi de B^casses k L'Ancienne. 

Dindes k la Chipolata. 
Selles D'Agneau Printani^re. 


Canetons de Rouen k la Rouenaise. 
^ Poulets Fins au Cresson. 

Salades k la Portugaise. 
Asperges en Branches. 


P6ches k la D'Orl^ans. 

Petits Souffles Glacis k la Cardinale. 

Laitances k la Diable. 

Glaces k la Napolitaine. 
Petites Gauffrettes. 


The next dinner was somewhat on the same 
lines — the Corps Diplomatique being still well to 
the front, the legal profession more numerously 
represented, and the ** Society" element most pro 
nounced. These are some of those who were able 
to obey His Royal Highness s commands : — 

The Due d'Aosta, the Duke of Teck, H.E. the 
Portuguese Minister, M. de Soveral ; H.E. the 
Roumanian Minister, M. Plagino ; the Italian 


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170 Marlborough House. 

Charge d' Affaires, M. Bouteneff; and the first 
Attaches of several of the Embassies ; the Duke of 
St. Albans, Baron Rothschild, the Earl of Dun- 
raven, the Earl of Cork, Lord Colville of Culross, 
Chief Justice Bowen, and Sir F. Jeune. 

DINER DU 8 MARS 1893. 


Consomm^ Printanier k la Doria. 

Crdme de Pois St Germain. 


Sauxnon Cisd^ k L'Ecossaise. 

Filets de Soles Di^ppoise. 


Cotelettes de Fois Gras \ la Strasbourgeoise. 

Ris D'Agneau k la Clamart. 


Canetons k L'EspagnoIe. 

Filets de Bceixf k la Piemontaise. 


Chapons R6tis au Cresson. 

Pigeons de Bordeaux, Salade de Laitues. 

Asperges en Branches. 


Petites Timbales k la Montmorency. 

Ananas en Surprise. 

Petites Crimes Frit^.s kla Victoria. 

G laces k la Venetienne. 

Petites Gauflfres. 


Perhaps the most interesting of the series was 
the one given on March 12th, to Mr. Henry- 
Irving, Mr. Bancroft, Mr. John Hare, Mr. William 
Farren, Mr. David James, Mr. Arthur Cecil, Mr. 
Kendal, Mr. J. L. Toole, Mr. Charles Wyndham, 


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I Marlborough House. 171 

Mr. Beerbohm Tree, Mr. George Alexander and 
other eminent actors, to meet whom were invited 
the Duke of Fife, Sir Henry de Bathe, Captain 
Holford, Sir Algernon Borthwick, Sir Edward 
Lawson, Sir Horace Farquhar, Sir S. Ponsonby 
Fane, Mr. A. de Rothschild, General Sir Chris- 
topher Teesdale, Sir Charles Hall, Sir J. Monckton, 
Dr. W. H. Russell, Mr. G. A. Sala, Mr. F. C. 
Bumand, and Mr. Pinero, etc. 

DINER DU 12 MARS, 1893. 


I Tortue Claire. 

I Cr^me de Coucombres k la Royale. 


Escalopes de Turbots, Crdme au Gratin. 
Filets de Truites ^ la Bordelaise. 

! Entries. 

; Noisettes d'Agneau \ I^ Parisienne. 

Chaudfroids de Cailles k la Richelieu. 


Selles De Mouton k la Duchesse. 
Poulardes Poil6s k la Regence. 
^ B^casses Rdtis sur C&oap^s. 

Salade de Legumes. 
Asperges en Branches. 


Timbales k TEspagnole. 

Dames Blanches i TOrange. 

Petites Casolettes k la Norv^gienne. 

Corbeilles de Glacis Varices. 

Patisseries Assortis. 


Two days later, there was a most noble gathering 
together of gallant soldiers and sailors. In the 


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172 Marlborough House. 

menu figured amongst the R6tis, Pettis Poussins 
sur Cdnapes. These poussins — a refinement upon 
the American eight-weeks-old "broiler" — were in- 
troduced as a rSti into the London haute cuisine — 
where they speedily became popular — by Sir 
Edward Lawson some ten years ago, he having 
come across them in Russia. They are not larger 
than a big quail, and, on this occasion, were a 
marked success. These little birds came from 
Sussex, provided by Bayley, the well - known 
purveyor of Mount Street, and the difficulty was 
— and always is — to obtain so large a number, say 
sixty, of a uniform size, one having necessarily to 
be provided for each guest. There is nothing new 
under the sun ; and the serving up of such small 
fowl — *' weaklings," Charles Lamb would have 
called them — ^is strictly classic, for the gourmands 
of ancient Rome, not content with the great variety 
of the genus " Columbus," used to consume as a 
special delicacy, field-fares fattened up for the 
purpose in dark receptacles under the ordinary 

There were present : — The Duke of Edinburgh, 
and the Duke of Connaught ; Prince Edward of 
Saxe- Weimar ; Admirals of the Fleet, viz., the 
Hon. Sir H. Keppel, Sir G. Hornby, and Sir E. 
Commerell ; Field- Marshals Sir Lintorn Simmons, 
and Sir H. Haines ; Admirals Lord Alcester, Sir 
R. Macdonald, Sir G. O. Willes, Sir W. Dowell, 
the Earl of Clanwilliam, Sir A. McLellan Lyons, 


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Marlborough House. 173 

and Sir Nowell Salmon ; Generals Sir D. Lysons, 
Sir Donald Stewart, Sir A. Alison, Sir F. 
Stephenson, Lord Chelmsford, Sir C. Brownlow, 
and Sir P. S. Lumsden ; Lieutenant-Generals Sir 
Charles Fraser, and Sir Evelyn Wood ; Rear- 
Admirals Heneage, Lord Charles Scott, Stephen- 
son, and FuUerton ; Major-Generals Keith Fraser, 
Lord W. Seymour, Sir Baker Russel, and Lord 
Methuen ; Colonel H. Smith ; Captain Hammond, 
and Sir Dighton Probyn. 

During dinner, the band of the 2nd Life Guards, 
under Mr. L. Barker, discoursed a choice selection 
of music. 

DINER DU 14 MARS, 1893. 


Consomme k la d'Orleans. 

Brisque d'Ecrevisses. 


Turbots, Sec Polignac 

Filets de Samnon k la Cardinale. 


Chartreuses de Volailles k la Chevalidre. 

Chaudfroids de Becassines k la Lucullus. 


Estomac de Dindes k rimperatrice. 

Pieces de Boeuf Braises, See. PersiL 


Petits Poussins sur Cdnap^s. 

Salade k la Bagrations. 

Asperges en Branches. 

Proifiteroles au Chocolat. 

Carolines Vanille k la Mold. 

Casolettes de Laitances k PIndienne. 

Biscuits de Mandarins en BeUe Vue. 

Petites Pitisseries Assortis. 



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174 Marlborough House. 

It may be of interest to mention that the menu 
cards at Marlborough House are white, with 
scalloped edges, their sole adornment being the 
Prince of Wales* crest in Royal Blue, surrounded 
by the Garter with its motto, and surmounted by a 
crown. From a social point of view, these entertain- 
ments must have effected a large amount of good, 
and gastronomically they could not fail to indirectly 
advance the all-important subject of domestic 
economy ; upon which, Mr. J. C. Buckmaster, 
presiding last year at the eighth annual exhibition 
of that useful institution, the Universal Cookery 
and Food Association, opened by His Highness 
Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar, pointed out that 
in the reign of James H. the art of cooking in this 
country had fallen to a very low depth, while when 
George HI. sat on the throne, it was little better 
than in the days of the ancient Britons. 

Possibly the shrewd and accomplished chairman 
took a somewhat pessimistic view of the culinary 
state in England during the 135 years that elapsed 
between the death of Charles H. and that of 
George HI. No doubt, in the latter monarch's 
era, the materials used were plain, and French 
" kickshaws " universally denounced, and patriotic- 
ally spurned ; but the cooking itself, if noirecherch^^ 
was surely good of its kind. Ladies personally 
superintended the kitchen department, and were 
trained in the important and graceful accomplish- 
ment of carving, of which art the late M. Pouard, 


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Marlborough House. 175 

caterer to the Queen's Guard at St. James* Palace, 
maintained that Englishmen within the last quarter 
of a century had become profoundly ignorant, in 
consequence of the prevailing fashion of dining d 
la Russe. 

Under the beneficent sway of Antonine CarSme 
— ^to whose memory the central thoroughfare of the 
Metropolitan market in Paris has been appro- 
priately dedicated — nearly all the crowned heads 
of Europe, during their visit to London, were right 
royally feasted by the Prince Regent, and a style 
of cooking arose characterized by all the elegance 
for which the French school has been famed from 
the days when Fagon, the physician, invented the 
delicious cStelottes that bear the name of Louis 
XIV.'s wife, up to the culminating period of Louis 
XVI I L, whose chefs refined upon the celebrated 
Chateaubriand steak by serving up to that bon- 
vivant monarch, ortolans stuffed with truffles and 
roasted inside partridges, leaving it difficult to 
decide which were the more savoury to devour — 
the morceau within, or its delicately - flavoured 

Before closing this gastronomic chapter, must be 
mentioned the dinner celebrating the happy event 
of July 6th the same year. The menu speaks for 
itself : 


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176 Marlborough House. 


DINER l>\i 6 JUILLET, 1893. 


Tortuc Claire. 
CoDsomm^ Froid k la D'Orldans. 


Filets de Truites k la Russe. 

Cendrillons de Soles k la Norvegienne. 


Escalopes de Volailles \ la Clamart. 

Chaudfroids d'Ortolans k la DemidofF. 


Selles D'Agneau k la Nivernaise. 

Jambon D'York Poelds au Champagne. 


Poulets Printanier au Cresson. 

Cailles sar C&napes k la Royale. 

Salade de Legumes Bagration. 


Asperges en Branches, See. Mousseuse. 

Souffles chaudes k la Modeme. 

Timbales de Pdches k la Princesse. 

Petits Gradins de Patisseries. 


Petites Crimes au Fromage Muscovite. 

Corbeilles de Glacds Assorties. 


Along Pall Mall and past Marlborough House 
have been marshalled all sorts of processions — 
some of very ephemeral interest, and in no way 
concerning the occupants of Marlborough House 
Two pageants there have been, however — ^the 
" Thanksgivmg •* (February 27th, 1872) and the 
••Jubilee" (June 21, 1887) — wherein both the 


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Marlborough House. 177 

Prince and Princess bore a part never to be 
forgotten either by themselves or by the nation. 

Bronzed warriors, returning from service abroad, 
have marched in serried rank past the well-known 
gateway of St, James' Palace. Royal visitors 
en route to some grand entertainment have gone 
that way to the City in order to get a peep at 
club - land. Political agitators in general, and 
Labour advocates in particular, have always had 
a liking for this part of the West End, where, 
followed by thousands of supporters, they have 
striven to prove to the idle lounger at his club, and 
to the Prince himself, the eternal right of the 
workman to receive the maximum of pay for the 
minimum of work. Even cab-strikers cannot resist 
the temptation to parade in front of Marlborough 
House. Last summer, the traffic there was 
seriously incommoded, if not suspended, by 
apparently all the hansom cabs in the metropolis 
slowly driving in single file up St. James* Street 
to Hyde Park, in order to call public attention to 
some private grievance of their own against the 
railway companies, and by so doing inflicting a 
very real and unnecessary annoyance upon the 
innocent pedestrian. 

As the snow lay deep throughout the kingdom 
during that fateful December of 1871, the nation's 
sympathy, stirred to its very depths rushed out 
to the Royal owner of Marlborough House, 
which it was feared he would never again see. 



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178 Marlborough House. 

And when on February 27th in the following 
year, he drove to St. Paul's Cathedral to return 
thanks to an all-wise Providence, who had ordained 
his recovery, the pent-up feelings of the Queen s 
subjects found vent in such a demonstration as had 
never before been witnessed. The scene as the 
carriages went down Pall Mall on their way east- 
ward was unique, as was the occasion. 

Then came the Jubilee year when, as the 
glittering procession passed Marlborough House 
on its return from the Abbey, there was distinctly 
visible to the spectators in the houses opposite, a 
pause of an instant's duration, while the occupants 
of each carriage, as if by common consent, directed 
their glance to the Heir Apparent s London 
house. It is sad to realize that out of the Queen's 
splendid cortige on that memorable day, death has 
claimed no less than nine Princes, viz. : — 

H. R. H. the Duke of Clarence. 

H. R. H. the Crown Prince of Germany. 

H. R. H. the Grand Duke of Hesse. 

H. I. H. the Crown Prince of Austria. 

H. R. H. the Due d'Aosta of Italy. 

H. G. D. H. Prince Louis of Baden. 

H. S. H. Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. 

H. R. H. the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. 

H. R. H Prince Henry of Battenberg. 

Not a single Princess, however, has fallen 
before the stroke of "the angel with the 
amaranthine wreath." 


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Marlborough House. 179 

Forty-nine years before, on June 28th, 1838, 
our Gracious Queen went down St. James' Street 
and along Pall Mall on her way to be crowned 
at Westminster. As she was passing Marlborough 
House at about a quarter to eleven o'clock, a short 
delay took place in consequence of one of the traces 
of Her Majesty's carriage giving way. This inci- 
dent was, of course, most gratifying to the people 
assembled at that particular spot, who had a much 
better view of the Queen than they would otherwise 
have had. Advancing along Pall Mall, the proces- 
sion was witnessed by thousands, many of whom 
had patiently waited several hours to obtain a 
glimpse of their youthful sovereign. Every window 
along the line of route was thrown wide open, 
scaffoldings were erected at the Oxford and 
Cambridge Club, providing accommodation for 
upwards of 600 members, while the Carlton 
managed to provide for 500. Marshal Soult, we 
are told, met with a most enthusiastic recognition, 
and the applause that welcomed the Duchess of 
Kent and the Duke of Sussex was deafening. 
But the reception of the Queen baffled description, 
and the wonder is that any human being could have 
gone through the ordeal of that wonderful day with 
so much self-possession and dignity as did Her 
Majesty Queen Victoria, the central figure of all 
that great assembly. 


Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

i8o Marlborough House. 



That the future subjects of the Prince and Princess 
of Wales have an intense and affectionate interest in 
every conceivable thing concerning them, it is un- 
necessary to repeat, which is no doubt fostered by 
the fact that owing to the Queen's partial withdrawal 
from London, and her comparative seclusion, an 
immense amount of extra publicity has for many 
years past fallen to the lot of the Heir- Apparent and 
his wife. 

Consequently the world desires to know all it can 
about their Royal Highnesses, even at the risk of 
appearing to intrude upon such well-earned privacy 
as they may occasionally command. 

We can all imagine how delighted the Prince 
must be to get clear away from the fierce glare of 
public life. Even at Sandringham, he and his family 
are not absolutely free from the espionage of 
strangers. People from miles around assemble on 
the public road at a spot close to the gate of St. 
Mary Magdalene Church, merely to stare at the 
Royal party entering the sacred edifice. If His 
Royal Highness goes out shooting, there are 


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Marlborough House. i8i 

generally a few well-accredited friends of his tenants 
watching him with profound interest, while, during 
the annual ** big shoots,*' often quite a troop eagerly 
follows him, recording his shots. 

In Paris the Prince of Wales naturally gets some 
kind of rest. But, probably, he enjoys himself most, 
either on his all-conquering yacht, Britannia, or at 
Homburg. On the deck of his famous 143-ton 
cutter, he can, with a favouring breeze, " flee from 
his pursuers." While at the delightful little watering 
place, nestling at the foot of the Taunus Mountains, 
the well-dressed and admirably behaved crowds, who, 
every morning at an uncomfortably early hour, wend 
their way through the shady glades of the Kurhaus 
grounds towards some favourite brunnen, are too 
well-bred to incommode or disturb him. Here he 
can perambulate the streets, enter the shops, mingle 
freely with the people, and walk about as he chooses, 
stroll into the pleasant pine forests, feed the great 
carp that roll lazily about in the lake, look on at 
some important game of tennis, dine quietly at 
** Ritter's," or on the terrace in front of the 
Kurhaus, whence, smoking his cigar in peace, and 
listening to the strains of the splendid band in the 
grounds illuminated ''en grand jour j' he can watch 
the groups of every nationality promenading 

From Homburg the Prince can easily visit his 
relations, who live in various interesting parts of 
Germany — at Bonn, Rumpenheim, Darmstadt, and 


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1 82 Marlborough House, 

imperial Potsdam. Finally, an hour s drive takes 
him to Friedrichshof, the Empress Frederick's lovely 
Renaissance castle, where he can enjoy quietude and 
privacy to his heart's content. One thing only, even 
he may not do, either at Homburg or at Friedrichshof 
— he may not walk on the lawns. Grass, as 
"made in Germany," may be looked at and 
admired, but apparently will not bear treading 
upon. This, to the natives, is a well understood 
fact, but to an Englishman it is bewildering, and 
rather aggravating, and he frequently finds that a 
serious breach of good manners has been unin- 
tentionally committed. 

Such was my unfortunate lot, when last I had the 
honour of an interview with H.I.M. the Empress 
Frederick. While conversing with me in her beauti- 
ful grounds, H.I.M. stood on the exquisitely kept 
quartzite pathway, occasionally stirring its tiny 
particles with her sunshade. I remained on the 
lawn, and abstractedly from time to time thrust the 
point of my umbrella into the turf. Not a shadow 
of displeasure crossed the face of the august lady, 
and I was as graciously dismissed as I had been 
received. But later in the day her Director 
laughingly told me that no one — not even the 
Empress's eldest brother himself — is supposed ever 
to put his foot upon the sacred turf, and only that I 
was a visitor presumably ignorant of Teutonic ways, 
I should at once have been commanded to come off 
it.. Hazarding, the remark that "surely grass is 


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Marlborough House. 183 

grass all the world over, and in England at least, 
thought to be improved by a moderate amount of 
use," I was silenced by the all-sufficient reply that it 
was ** not so in the Fatherland." 

I have since thought that I ought to be thankful 
that this offence did not occur at Potsdam, or it 
might have constituted an act of lese-majeste, 
and consigned me to a fortress such as Spandau or 
Ehrenbreitstein for a lengthy period. 

A well known physiognomist has formulated the 
axiom that full blue eyes are generally associated 
ivith a cheerful and happy disposition ; that they 
evidence a candid and generous nature, and belong 
to those who make the best of unpleasant circum- 
stances ; that they indicate a talent for, or a great 
appreciation of, music, painting, or acting ; also a 
preference for rich colours and highly decorative 
surroundings ; and that they hint at strong feelings^ 
love of children, and a general fondness for pleasure. 

Lavater may not always have been particularly 
happy in his guesses at character, but I think he 
would have had good reason to claim the above as a 
remarkable vindication of his theory, in its applica- 
tion to H. R. H. the Prince of Wales. 

Those who know the Prince best, could also bear 
ample testimony to his less generally known powers 
of endurance, his capacity for business, and his great 
tact. None of us are without faults, and of course the 
Prince, too, has his imperfections and peculiarities ; 
but to these we are bound in loyalty and respect to 


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184 Marlborough House. 

be '* a little blind," as we are to his many virtues 
" very kind." 

How greatly does manner depend for its success 
upon tact ! — that subtle quickness of perception and 
readiness of action which enables its possessor to 
do the right thing at the right moment, to select the 
one word that best expresses his meaning, and to 
put painful things nicely. During last season, the 
Prince had occasion to describe a poorhouse, and 
made use of the term *' union," for doing which some 
rather unkind remarks were made by sundry people 
of the Gradgrind type, to whom a workhouse is an 
institution for work and nothing more. The Prince, 
no doubt, was perfectly aware that the very poor are 
keenly sensitive, and prefer to hear the milder 
expression used when their relatives or friends 
happen to be inmates of that last refuge of the 

For business details of every nature, the Prince 
seems to have a natural aptitude. To the numerous 
International Exhibitions of which he has been 
chairman — notably that of the '* CoHnderies " and 
the one at Paris in 1878, when he so ably presided 
over the British Commission — he has always given 
close and unremitting attention, issuing orders and 
superintending everything with the utmost zeal. Had 
not His Royal Highness been born in the purple, 
he would have raised himself by these qualifications 
to a high position as one of England's merchant 


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RHis Royal HtGHNESS the PiiiNci: of Wali^s, K^C 


Marlborough House. 185 

Liberality is part and parcel of the Prince s 
nature, of which examples without end might be 
quoted. Rarely does a well-authenticated appeal 
to his charity fail to meet with a response, while his 
active co-operation in the efforts constantly being 
made to ameliorate the condition of the ** sub- 
merged tenth," is well known. 

In his yachting career, the Prince's generosity is 
conspicuously evidenced. Last year, the Britannia 
won nearly every race for which she was entered, 
and as, in addition to the trophy itself, the money 
prizes offered ranged from fifty to a hundred pounds, 
no small amount was realized. His Royal Highness 
in almost every case gave the whole to Captain 
Carter and his crew, besides their usual wages, 
in recognition of their services. Thus, at the 
Weymouth regatta, when Ailsa was once more 
defeated, the sum of ;^20 went to the skipper, and 
£2 to each of the forty men comprising the crew. 

Of the Prince's cheeriness, a single example 
related will suffice. During one of the shooting 
parties at Sandringham, when, singularly enough, 
the Prince's personal attendant was named Prince, 
there was the usual brief pause for '* refreshment " 
at half-past one o'clock. Presently the Prince 
enquired of Jackson, the head keeper, why they 
were waiting. "We are waiting for Count 
Gleichen, your Royal Highness," replied Jackson. 
Just then, the Count emerged from the covert with 
anything but military alacrity. " Forward, Grena 


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1 86 Marlborough House. 

dier Guards ! " shouted out the Prince in his 
merriest voice. This command from his own 
colonel acted like a charm on the tired sportsman, 
who quickly changed his whole bearing, and 
marched to the front in a manner befitting an 
officer in so crack a regiment. 

To attempt to describe Their Royal High- 
nesses' well-known appearance, would border on the 
ridiculous. In fact, it has been recently calculated 
that some two million photographs of the Queen, 
and Prince and Princess of Wales, not including 
innumerable lithographs and engravings, are pro- 
duced annually, and find a ready sale in all parts of 
the globe. But, although, next to that of Her 
Majesty, the Prince's is the best known physiog- 
nomy in the world, totU le monde has not been 
privileged to hear him speak, nor to watch the 
various expressions of his countenance. 

Most charming and genial is the Prince's smile, 
but the expression of his face in repose is somewhat 
grave, at times even stern, and does not always 
relax when speaking in public, though seldom re- 
tained in private conversation. Stern can he be 
when necessity arises, and, no doubt, under provo- 
cation, is tempted to *• say a swear " ; but, the storm 
once blown over, no cloud of resentment is left 
behind — the offence is soon condoned, and, as a 
rule, buried in oblivion. 

His Royal Highnesses voice is quite unmistake- 
able ; his pronunciation, I should be inclined to 


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Marlborough House. 187 

describe as syllabic, for instance, the word " interest," 
would probably be pronounced " in-ter-est.*' 

The Prince's memory of faces is proverbial ; and 
of his gracious readiness to acknowledge his recogni- 
tion of them, I need only give one instance. When 
at Norwich last year, whither he went to unveil an 
episcopal throne in the old cathedral to the memory 
of the late Bishop Pelham, His Royal Highness, on 
leaving the choir, recognised in the stalls Canon 
Heaviside, his old mathematical tutor, who had been 
prevented by weight of years and infirmities from 
joining in the procession preceding the ceremony. 
Immediately the Prince greeted him with the 
greatest cordiality, and conversed freely and affec- 
tionately with him. 

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales 
possesses the valuable faculty which the great 
Napoleon boastingly claimed for himself He can 
faire vibrer la fibre populaire — suit himself to the 
times. His action in the Venezuelan business, and 
the direct impulse he gave to the ** Grace Testi- 
monial Fund " last year, are appropriate examples 
of his having done the right thing in the right way, 
and what the nation as a whole would have had him 
do, had it been previously polled on the subjects. 

The Prince very much objects to exaggerated 
sentiment and adulation of any kind. At a notable 
mansion not a thousand miles from Grosvenor 
Square, a certain baronet when being presented, 
attempted, in excess of zeal, to kneel to the Heir- 


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1 88 Marlborough House. 

Apparent, who, it is said, was by no means pleased 
with the ill-timed and inappropriate effort. 

Servants entering the Prince's service for the first 
time, are, as a rule, well-grounded in the art of 
deportment towards Royalty, and are told that it 
is not their place to make the obeisance reserved for 
the gentlemen of the household, but to remain " at 
attention " when their Royal Highnesses pass by. 
On one occasion, however, a youthful footman, over 
confident, and unmindful of his more experienced 
comrade's injunctions, departed from this rule to 
such an extent that the Prince could stand it no 
longer, and one day suddenly turning upon him, 
exclaimed, " What are you doing that for ? Do you 
think you are paid to stand there bowing and 
scraping ? " Thus did the unlucky offender realize 
the inadvisability of being too zealous even in 
the demonstrations of respect to a superior. 

At the theatre it is well known the Prince likes 
to enjoy the play quietly, to be treated like the 
rest of the audience, and not to have attention 
specially drawn to himself, as happened on one 
occasion, when an over-patriotic conductor, spying 
His Royal Highness in his box, instructed his 
orchestra to strike up the well-known air "God 
Bless the Prince of Wales." 

Like his Imperial nephew, of Potsdam, the Prince 
expects a frank straightforward answer from the 
person to whom he puts a question. He cares not 
for those who stand obsequiously bowing before him 


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Marlborough House. 189 

and avoiding his glance, in which respect he strongly 
resembles the Empress Frederick, who loves nothing 
better than to be looked straight in the face, and to 
have her queries answered unreservedly yet respect- 

Rightly, the Prince objects to the practice of 
" tipping " still prevalent, though less so than in the 
last century, when, according to Professor Lecky, a 
foreign minister dining with a nobleman of highest 
rank, usually expended in fees and vails, as much as 
ten guineas. Sometimes, however, this kind of 
blackmailing was manfully protested against, as in 
the case of Sir Timothy Waldo, of whom it is said, 
that after being entertained by the Duke of New- 
castle, the domestics pressed forward as usual for 
their fees. Arriving at the cook. Sir Timothy pre- 
sented him with a crown piece, which was returned 
with the remark, " I do not take silver." ** Don't 
you indeed?" said the baronet, putting the coin 
into his pocket. " Then I do not give gold." 

His Royal Highness is always an advocate for 
social reform in every direction that his good 
judgment tells him it is needed. In fact, with his 
liberality and breadth of views, he moves with the 

He is decidedly witty, possessing largely the 
Royal facility for making i propos remarks, and 
vastly appreciates this art in others. He is full of 
fun, and can freely relax when the occasion justifies 
it, particularly in the privacy of his family-circle. 


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190 Marlborough House. 

" Uncle John," a certain much-beloved relation, 
used frequently to stay at Marlborough House ; 
but as he could speak little English, it was arranged 
that he should be coached by certain members of 
the family in some of the more familiar and 
necessary every-day phrases. His Royal tutors 
pointed out to him that certain strong expressions 
in our language are used occasionally to give force 
and emphasis, but they omitted to mention that 
only under peculiar circumstances were such ex- 
pressions at all excusable. The Royal party, 
therefore, were highly amused one day at dinner, 
when the Prince, upon enquiring of " Uncle John " 
how he liked a certain plat, received for answer, 
delivered with the utmost gravity, " I thank you 

It is good." The prefix to this adjective was 

a word which Captain Corcoran, of H.M.S. 
Pinafore, indignantly declared he never, at least, 
" hardly ever" used. 

The Prince speaks French, German and Italian, 
excelling in the former, but he does not converse 
in Danish. He is fond of a game of whist, and 
was instructed in the science of billiards by the 
father of the present famous John Roberts. 

His Royal Highness's skill at shooting-parties is 
well known, but perhaps everybody is not aware 
that his preference seems to be for overhead shots 
at " rocketers," during the battues at Sandringham, 
and that he generally uses a hammerless breech- 


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Marlborough House. 191 

For fishing, the Prince has never evinced much 
taste, though the lordly salmon must often have 
been landed by him in Scotland and elsewhere. 
One day in the year, he, with the Princess and 
their children, used to extract a good deal of fun 
from Virginia Water, where trimmers were set 
over-night for pike — "the tyrants of the watery 
plains" — and a kind of fishing tournament was 
held. But His Royal Highness's disposition is too 
active to urge him to emulate the contemplative 
trout-fisher, much less the patient disciple of Izaak 
Walton, who hour after hour at some well-baited 

" hopes the scaly breed, 
And eyes the dancing cork and bending reed." 

In the confession-book of a Norfolk lady, it is 
said that Her Royal Highness the Princess of 
Wales has left a record in her own hand-writing of 
two most interesting facts — one, that her favourite 
art is millinery, the other that her favourite employ- 
ment is " minding her own business." Ever since 
she came to dwell amongst us amid unexampled 
national rejoicings, when Tennyson broke into 
joyous song of Vikings and their illustrious 
descendant, the Princess of Wales has steadily 
carried out the principle so pithily expressed in her 

To maintain with dignity and grace the proud 
position of second lady in the Empire, to abstain 


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192 Marlborough House. 

from the least interference in politics, to give 
offence to none, and to retain the admiration and 
respect of a great nation, is no slight achievement, 
and is an evidence of the firmness of purpose lying 
perdu beneath the winning grace and charm of 
manner that long ago captivated all hearts. 

No Royal person has, perhaps, been so much run 
after as the Princess. Before her great sorrow, 
country-cousins and all sorts and conditions of men 
and women were seen day after day in the park, 
striving to catch a glimpse of her well-known 
carriage, with its fine bays, or her graceful victoria, 
with its high-stepping grey horses. No trouble 
was too great, and no amount of personal dis- 
comfort, damped the enthusiasm of those who were 
determined to see the Princess drive by ; and it was 
not unusual for visitors to the metropolis, in writing 
to their friends, to boast of having contrived in one 
way or another to " view " the Princess of Wales 
as many as fifteen or twenty times in one week. 

Most people read in the daily journals of the 
presence of Her Royal Highness at State functions, 
theatres, and fetes, etc., and they also imbibe a 
vast amount of utterly false information concerning 
her, from certain weekly papers. But they hardly 
realize how thoroughly domesticated and simple is 
the life of the Princess at Marlborough House, 
and especially in the retirement of the Norfolk 
home she loves so well, and where she is seen at 
her best. 


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Marlborough House. 193 

A fellow-feeling with weakness and suffering 
developing into that most womanly of all instincts, 
the nursing of the sick, is predominant in the 
Princess. Some time ago, when Mrs. Jones, who 
came from St. Bartholomew's Hospital to nurse the 
Princess during her tedious illness in the year 1867, 
and to whom Her Royal Highness became much 
attached, calling her by the pet name of " Johnnie " 
— fell seriously ill, no one could dissuade Her 
Royal Highness from sitting up with her for some 
nights — until the end came. 

A few days after the sad event, a modest 
brougham might have been observed proceeding to 
the Brompton Cemetery, where at the last resting- 
place of her favourite attendant, the Princess with- 
her own hands, sorrowfully placed a memorial 
wreath. Later on, she caused a beautiful monu- 
ment to be erected on the well-known eastern 
terrace, whose entire wall is clothed with a per- 
petual mantle of flourishing ivy. It bears this in- 
scription : — 





Who died May, 13th, 1881. For 14 years the faithful servant 
and friend of Alexandra, Princess of Wales, by whom this 
monument is erected. 

Another example of the Princess's thoughtfulness 
for others, even in the midst of an overwhelming 

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194 Marlborough House. 

personal grief, comes to me from the highest source. 
During that sad period four years ago, the Memorial 
Chapel at Windsor was the scene of numerous 
special services, in addition to the ordinary ones at 
St. George's. Her Royal Highness before she left, 
enquired if another and final service could be 
arranged late in the evening. Her desire was at 
once acceded to, and 

'' Hearing the holy organ rolling waves 
Of sound on roof and floor 
Within, and anthem sung." 

doubtless the Royal mother's grief was somewhat 
stayed. With tender solicitude, she did not forget 
the extra work entailed upon the little choir boys — 
fourteen in number — who might possibly go supper- 
less to bed, or at any rate, have but their usual fare, 
so on her return to the Castle she at once gave 
instructions that chickens and other good things 
beloved by juveniles should be sent to their resi- 
dence in the cloisters, personally satisfying herself 
that her orders were carried out ; and they had 
— as they characteristically expressed it the next 
morning to a high church dignitary — a "jolly 
good feed." 

With inborn kindliness, the Princess likes to hand 
to her household and servants at Christmas-time, 
the gifts — principally of silver — that it has been the 
custom for years past to bestow upon them at 
Sandringham. Those who have been there a long 


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Marlborough House. 195 

time have become gradually possessed of what one 
might term a service of plate ; and as a register 
is kept of these gifts, no one runs a chance of 
receiving a duplicate. 

When Mr. Blackburn, the present house-steward, 
was married at Sandringham in 1874 to Mary 
Wagland, the second nurse at Marlborough 
House, the Prince, Princess, and young Princesses 
were present at the ceremony, and afterwards went 
into the vestry to sign the register. The Princess 
kissed the bride and congratulated her, while the 
children clung to her, crying bitterly at having to 
part with their beloved " Marie " — *' my good 
Mary " as she was generally called by the Princess. 
Very tender associations naturally entwine them- 
selves around the personality of old and trusted 
servants, experienced in a special manner by 
Boyalty, debarred as they are from many of the 
ordinary friendships of life." 

Bereavement is a sacrament which levels all 
ranks, during which we kneel side by side without 
respect of persons. I was struck by an exemplifica- 
tion of this in an incident related by Mrs. Martin, 
the housekeeper at St. James' Palace, who, in her 
younger days had been nurse to the infant Princes. 
Mrs. Martin, when describing her first meeting 
with the Princess of Wales after the death of the 
Duke of Clarence, touchingly added " Her Royal 
Highness said not a word, but embracing me, 
silently wept." 


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196 Marlborough House. 

Not only to say the right thing at the right 
time, but to do the right thing at the right moment, 
is a talent in itself, and very conspicuous in the 
Princess. Her Royal Highness has, too, the gift 
of fluency of speech ; in fact she is — like H.R.H, 
the Princess Louise — an excellent speaker. In the 
minor as well as in the more important functions of 
life the Princess's delicate perception is very evident. 
She has a kind word for everybody, and if when in 
going out, she passes through the offices at Marl- 
borough House, she never fails to bestow a smile of 
recognition and a word of enquiry upon each and all 
of the messengers and commissionaires who happen 
to be in the way. 

But, as I have said, it is at Sandringham that the 
Princess feels most at home, and freer to indulge 
her philanthropic propensities. 

Attached to the charming chalet which does duty 
as a model dairy, is a boudoir — a beautiful room 
decorated with choice and quaint china — where in one 
of the cabinets is kept an earthenware milk-jug of a 
kind used by the very poor. This humble piece of 
pottery had been given to the Princess by a young 
girl, who died of consumption, and was a token of 
gratitude for the kindly attention with which the 
Mistress of Sandringham had soothed her last days. 
The Princess greatly treasures this simple gift. 

Her Royal Highness is constantly in the cottages 
round about Sandringham House, talking freely and 
familiarly with the inmates. Often she may be met 


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Marlborough House. 197 

walking in the lanes unattended, or at most with only 
Miss KnoUys as escort. Then is the opportunity 
for some dejected-looking tramp to approach, and 
accosting either the Princess or Miss KnoUys — who 
is equally tender-hearted — to pour forth a dismal 
tale of destitution more or less genuine. If none of 
the equerries are about, the applicant goes on his 
way rejoicing, with substantial relief in his or her 
pocket. Evidently the Charity Organization Society 
has no terror for the good Princess, who, doubtless 
believes in the doctrine sanctioned by the Highest 
Authority that relief should be instant and precede 

By the way, these applications to Her Royal 
Highness will be rendered somewhat difficult should 
she patronise the new motor carriage of which the 
Prince of Wales made personal trial at the Imperial 
Institute. This machine would probably displace 
the tricycle at present used by the Princess, adopted, 
it is said, because the *' Royal Premier " so 
well liked by her daughters, was found to be un- 
suited to Her Royal Highness, who, in testing it, 
more than once experienced a rather undignified 
tumble, much, however, to her own amusement. 

So widely known is the Princess of Wales dis- 
position to give, that she is made the subject of 
endless appeals. It may be remembered that not 
long ago, an old lady named Thomas attained her 
hundredth year at Buryport, when the gift of one 
hundred shillings was thoughtfully sent to her from 


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198 Marlborough House. 

Marlborough House. Since then, it appears that 
the Princess has been literally overwhelmed by 
applications from all the old women in the king- 
dom, who in spite of the dictum of the late Sir 
George Cornwall Lewis, insist that they are cen- 
tenarians, the result being that all further donations 
— even in the case of the latest applicant, who pro- 
fessed to be 104 years old — have had to be 
reluctantly stopped. 

-3 propos of the Princess's zeal in doing good, 
even to the undeserving, there is rather an amusing 
story. In the days of the late Mr. E. Beck, who 
ruled as Agent and Steward at Sandringham, a 
certain " ne'er-do-weel " had the audacity to pitch 
upon a spot of unoccupied waste land — ^part of the 
outlying estates of the Prince of Wales. Foi^etful 
that England is not Australia, he became a " free 
selector," and ran up a shanty just sufficient to 
shelter his wife and children from the rain and wind, 
but more fit for an animal than for a human being. 
He existed partly on charity, and partly by wild- 
fowling, eked out, no doubt, by an occasional bit 
of poaching, in spite of the vigilance of the 
numerous keepers. In fact, he was the bHe-noir 
and despair of the parish, and his mode of life a 
scandal to the Princely estate. Why he was ever 
suffered to remain is a mystery. But probably, 
there was some technical difficulty in the way of 
an eviction, and the kindliness of both Prince and 
Princess precluded any violent means being adopted. 


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Marlborough House. 199 

Her Royal Highness took up the man's cause, and 
determined that he and his family should at least 
have a decent roof over their heads. Mr. Beck 
was appealed to, but he could not conscientiously 
see his way to recommend the building of a cottage 
for a man who would not work, amd whom he knew 
to be irreclaimably idle. 

However, the Princess was not to be deterred 
from her beneficent purpose. Her one thought 
was of the suffering to which the man's wife and 
children must be exposed, so Mr. Beck was finally 
summoned into the presence of the Prince and 
Princess, when her Royal Highness s wishes were 
once more made known to him. He used all his 
powers of argument to demonstrate that the 
Princess's charity was misplaced and would not be 
appreciated, but the Prince cut the interview short 
by saying " Now, Beck, you have heard all that the 
Princess desires, there is nothing more to say on the 

The cottage was duly built in the style for which 
throughout England the Prince's estate is famous 
— ^as comfortable and snug an abode for a labourer 
as might be found anywhere. But the ** ne'er-do- 
weel " requited the kindness of the Princess with 
the extraordinary inconsistency of his class, and 
although he knew perfectly well the advantages of 
a decent home, flatly refused to permantly occupy it, 
and reverted to the more congenial pig-stye he him- 
self had constructed. 


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200 Marlborough House. 

When Gibson, the sculptor, was engaged at Marl- 
borough House shortly after the marriage of the 
Prince and Princess, in modelling a bust of Her 
Royal Highness, he found, as did Frith, that 
he had a viery indifferent sitter to deal with, and 
the latter relates how the young bride on being 
good - humouredly reproved by her husband, 
turned charmingly round upon the two artists and 
exclaimed " You are two bad men ! " but from 
that time forth gave them no cause for anxiety as to 
the result of their labours. 

A somewhat similar and thoroughly characteristic 
incident happened at Sandringham when the 
Princess was new to the place, and to the residents 
in the neighbourhood. Her Royal Highness had 
set her heart upon paying an informal and unan- 
nounced visit to one of the county families, and 
her Comptroller had respectfully pointed out to her 
that it was hardly advisable to bestow such an 
honour without previously making known her in- 
tentions, and delicately hinted that it might be in- 
convenient for the recipents to entertain so exalted 
a guest at a moment's notice. Another fact com- 
plicated the position, namely, that the country-seat 
was some distance, and would entail a prolonged 
absence from Sandringham House. Still the 
Princess professed her inability to see why she 
should not do as she wished, playfully advancing 
the crushing argument that if the luncheon were the 
difficulty, she would "take her own with her." At 


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Marlborough House. 201 

last better counsel prevailed, and — though rather 
unwillingly — she abandoned her project, but for the 
next three days pretended to be quite vexed with 
her faithful Comptroller, hardly interchanging a word 
-with him. When she thought he had been suffi- 
ciently punished, her kindly disposition re-asserted 
itself, and she no longer had the heart to feign an 
obduracy foreign to her nature, so one morning, as 
the gallant warrior in question was passing along 
the chief corridor, the Princess, without the least 
^warning, dcu-ted out from her apartment, and giving 
him a playful push, announced her reconciliation, 
and submission to his superior judgment, by 
smilingly uttering these words, " You are a brute ! *' 
The charming way in which this little scene was 
enacted, and the pretty accent and emphasis on the 
final word, is quite indescribable. 

Almost fatherly, one may say, is the way in which 
Sir Dighton Probyn looks after the Princess's 
interests, and endeavours to shield her from every 
possible harm or mishap. If, while in the grounds 
at Sandringham, she remains talking at any length, 
say, to some authority on horses, and becomes so 
absorbed as to forget the wind that blows about her 
keenly, as on the coast of Norfolk in the winter it 
knows so well how to do, a respectful but firm 
observation on the risk she is running is sure to 
proceed from her vigilant guardian, to whom Her 
Royal Highness, to do her justice, instantly submits 
with the prettiest grace imaginable. 


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202 Marlborough House. 

Her Royal Highness has absolutely no sense of 
fear, and, if such an expression may be used in 
speaking of so exalted a lady, she is the quintessence 
of pluck, as will be seen from the following incident 
which occurred some years ago. Since her serious 
illness, it is well known that her saddle has had to 
be peculiarly made. This arrangement to suit the 
stiffness of her knee, once proved the indirect means 
of saving her from a very serious catastrophe. 
Riding home from a certain meet of hounds, closely 
followed by Sir Dighton Probyn, splendidly 
mounted as he usually is, the Princess was making 
her horse show off its best paces, when, for some 
unaccountable reason, it bolted ; she lost all control 
over it, and was flung violently backwards, with her 
foot fast in the stirrup, her body and head hanging 
down, her whole weight, in fact, being momentarily 
supported by her foot, and the clutch she still re- 
tained of the reins. Sir Dighton was alongside in a 
moment, frightened for once in his life, yet, as in 
India,, full of energy and resource. Catching hold 
of the bridle, by sheer force of arm he brought the 
runaway down upon his knees, and to a dead stop. 
The Princess's life was saved, or at the least, some 
dreadful disfigurement avoided. With consummate 
self-possession Her Royal Highness, true descendant 
of Vikings, turned to him, and smilingly acknow- 
ledged the service rendered to her, not a trace of 
alarm upon her face at her very narrow escape. 
But a lesson had been learnt, and in future the 


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Marlborough House. 203 

Princess was careful never to gallop hard, even when 
so skilled and brave an attendant was close at 

Sir Dighton Probyn and the Princess once had a 
most amusing experience together. Finding them- 
selves, after a fatiguing run with the Norfolk 
hounds, many miles from home, in a part of the 
country where they were not known, Her Royal 
Highness felt very tired so they drew rein at a 
humble but respectable-looking little wayside inn, 
and entering the parlour asked what refreshment 
they could have. Bread, cheese, and ale — all that 
the cottage could produce — were set before the 
gentleman. Then turning to the Princess, the 
hostess remarked to Sir Dighton, " Now what would 
this young lady, your daughter, be pleased to take ? 
I can make her a cup of tea in no time." The offer 
was accepted, and to this day the old dame is doubt- 
less ignorant of the exalted rank of the "young 

But anecdotes could be given without end, every 
one of them adding to our knowledge of the universal 
goodness and kindness of the Prince and Princess of 

We are constantly hearing of some new but im- 
practicable scheme, that is to annihilate even the 
most tenacious of evik, while suggestions keep 
pouring in from all quarters for the amelioration of 
humanity, destined in the opinion of their originators 
to rapidly bring about a state of social perfection that 


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204 Marlborough House. 

will land us in the Millenium. Yet after all, are not 
their Royal Highnesses of Marlborough House, by 
force of example, the truest reformers ? 

As the leaders of society, they effect incalculable 
good by making it fashionable to think of and help 
the poor, the sick, and the sad. As future rulers 
over three hundred millions of human beings, they 
are regarded with feelings of no ordinary kind by 
Great Britain, India, and the Colonies — that indis- 
soluble " Triple Alliance " of the Queen's " World 

Magnificent the inheritance coming years will 
bring to the Heir Apparent, glorious the national 
traditions, that in due time will be personified by 
him, and infinite the possibilities of good for his 
gracious consort. 

What more splendid destiny can be conceived 
than to lead such a race as ours, drawn up by a 
common peril into close order, ready for anything 
that may happen, animated to stand by their rights 
at all costs, and upon whose shield is emblazoned 
this ineffaceable motto : — 

" Come ttu three corners of the world in arms. 
And we shall shock them^ 


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Marlborough House. 205 



Ghosts are the peculiar heritage of well-aged cities. 
One can hardly associate them with the mushroom 
towns of Australia and the far West, where no 
historical phantoms can exist. If ghosts are there, 
they must be those of dispossessed aborigines or of 
the coyotes and kangaroos that once roamed upon 
their sites. But they abound in London ; and 
from Marlborough House we need not go far to 
meet some of the most highly respectable specimens 
of this interesting genus. 

Could Thomas Thynne, Esq., of Longleat, Wilts, 
have had any premonition of what the day would 
bring forth when, on the morning of Sunday, the 
1 2th of February, 1682, aided by his valet, he 
leisurely dressed himself in all the finery of the 
Restoration period at his lodgings near Charing 
Cross, hard by those of his boon companion, the 
Duke of Monmouth ? There had been an eclipse 
of the moon the night before, watched by the astro- 
nomer, Flamsteed, with his imperfect instruments as 
patiently and keenly as it would be to-day by the 
highly-trained staff at Greenwich ; and Thynne had 


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2o6 Marlborough House. 

gazed with ignorant amazement at the unfamiliar 
sight of a shadow inexorably creeping over the 
moon's silvery face, turning it to a deep olive. The 
age was a singularly superstitious one, fruitful of 
signs and wonders ; and it would not have been sur- 
prising had he therefore conjectured that the omen 
was meant for himself, and that some dark shadow 
was about to eclipse his life. Yet the occurrence 
made but a fleeting impression upon him, and he 
remained in London. 

He spent more time than usual on his toilet, for, 
besides numerous other engagements, he had to pay 
a visit of ceremony to Lady Northumberland, through 
whose influence he had been recently married to the 
child-widow of the Earl of Ogle, the great heiress 
of Northumberland, thus adding a mighty fortune 
to his already ample revenues. 

Just upon the stroke of eight that evening, the 
sentries in front of St. James' Palace, in their red 
uniform, with the rose and thistle embroidered on 
their coats back and front, and halbert in hand were, 
as usual lounging listlessly by Holbein's gateway 
longing for the relief guard which should set them 
free to visit the sutler's house hard by, where they 
might smoke their walnut-shell pipes, and grumble 
to their heart's content at sundry soldiers' griev- 
ances of the day. 

In the Roman Catholic Chapel close by, the 
incense floating up before the altar and losing itself 
in the roof above, announced that vespers were just 


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Marlborough House. 207 

over ; and Queen Katherine of Braganza with her 
maids of honour, after devoutly listening to the 
Portuguese priests, had returned to the old palace. 

In many a City church, staid citizens with some 
difficulty had followed the new form of prayer, 
essaying to derive some crumbs of comfort from the 
platitudes of duly ordained rector or vicar. At the 
Moravian Chapel in Fetter Lane, the saintly Baxter 
had eloquently pleaded with the crowded congrega- 
tion, moving them to tears and repentance, and 
many a fool •* who came to scoff, remained to pray." 

But now, throughout the great city, over which 
had settled down a stillness unknown to this genera- 
tion, all honest folk were safe indoors enjoying the 
last meal of the day. Lights twinkled in the 
stately pile of buildings at Whitehall, where Charles 
and his dissolute courtiers gambled and caroused. 
Filmy clouds floated gently over the heavens, but 
slightly obscuring from time to time the light of the 
moon, which, being only a little past full, rendered 
superfluous the torches carried by the running 
footmen of Thynne's lumbering coach, as, drawn 
by six big horses with flowing tails, it rolled uneasily 
over the cobble stones of St. James* Street and 
turned into Pall Mall, past the future site of Marl- 
borough House. 

What was that solitary horseman after, who had 
been hovering about the neighbourhood since the 
clock struck half-past seven ? wondered the guards at 
the Palace Gate. And why did he take from his 


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2o8 Marlborough House. 

bandolier a charge of fine powder wherewith to 
renew the priming of his wheel-lock blunder- 
buss? Stranger still, why, at the first gleam of 
the approaching torches, did he gallop up Pall 
Mall towards the Haymarket ? 

But the sentinels — ^grizzled old warriors who had 
fought on many a battle-field since that of Marston 
Moor — soon forgot all about the great coach and the 
mysterious horseman, and if they thought at all, it 
was of supper. 

Presently a sound came ringing down the street, 
making their ears tingle with its associations, waking 
the echoes, causing the dogs far and near to bark 
loudly and nervously, windows and doors to be 
thrown open, and people to come out to listen and 
peep. To the soldiers there was no mystery as to 
what that loud report was, for often enough had 
they heard it in the past. 

Then came a confused noise of shouting, and wild 
plunging of horses. Had they been a little further 
up Pall Mall, they might have heard the hoarse 
command of " Stop ! " as three ruffians rode up 
to Thynne's coach, and have seen the flash and 
cloud of smoke from the weapon fired straight 
through the window at poor Thynne, sitting all 
unconscious of impending evil. 

" I am murdered ! " was all he could faintly 

The assassins, frantically, but vainly, pursued by 
one of the footmen, disappeared. Thynne's coach 


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Marlborough House. 209 

quickly bore him home, and on his gaily-decked 

bed they laid his stricken form and waited for the 

surgeon to say if his wounds were mortal or not. 

In hot haste, a message was sent to the Duke of 

Monmouth, who, with others of his set, sped at 

once to his friend's bedside. All the gold he 

possessed could not avail to keep him alive. Two 

of the cruel slugs had shattered his spine and two 

others had lodged in the lower part of his body. 

Already the signs of dissolution had set in. 

His skin was cold and clammy, his eyes were 

sunken, while he trembled like an aspen leaf; his 

pulse was barely perceptible, and his breath came 

short and quick. About midnight, the watchers 

by his bedside, thinking the end was near, hastily 

offered him a cordial which he eagerly swallowed ; 

but Monmouth and his friends were presently 

startled by the sudden change in poor Thynne's 

looks. His eyes brightened, a flush of crimson 

stole over his cheeks, his pulse became perceptibly 

stronger — there might be hope, after all ! But 

soon he began to mutter incoherently, and no 

longer recognised the faces of those around him ; 

his voice, got weaker and weaker, and at last ceased. 

Slowly the night dragged on, and just upon the 

stroke of twelve — ere the tardy dawn of a new day 

— ^a grey shadow stole over the suffering face, and 

all was over in this world for Thomas Thynne, 

foully done to death at the instigation of his rival, 

Koningsmarck, who — more lucky than the actual 



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2IO Marlborough House. 

murderer — escaped the gallows to find, four years 
later, a soldier's death when fighting the Turks in 

Up Pall Mall fi-om Whitehall, with phantom step 
comes King Charles II., a monarch who, un- 
consciously, had a good deal to do with the 
Marlborough House of the future. For by Letters 
Patent under the Great Seal, dated September 
20th, 1683, at the request of "his dearest consort, 
Katherine," he granted to her a ninety-nine years' 
lease of the identical ground upon which Sir 
Christopher Wren was afterwards to build the great 
Duchess's town mansion. And it is very certain 
that Nell Gwynn's garden in her Royal friend's 
time, constituted a part of the existing grounds 
of Marlborough House. 

Therefore, King Charles can justify his ghostly- 
presence here. But he is hardly a phantom ; for, 
like his Secretary of the Admiralty, he still lives. 
In Westminster Abbey and Crutched Friars' 
Church, their dusty mortality is, no doubt, securely- 
sealed up, but in the spirit, they are round and 
about us as when the clatter of their high-heeled 
shoes could be heard in Palace or Navy Office. 

Unhappy Charles! for all time, object-lesson of 
lost opportunities. Of all weary souls in the nether 
world, he should experience the truth of these 
pathetic lines : 

" That of all saddest words of tongue or pen 
The saddest are those ' It might have been.' " 


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Marlborough House. 2\\ 

If ever restless spirit 

" brake the band 
That stays him from the native land, 
Where first he walk'd when claspt in clay." 

it must be that of him, the once-called '* Merry." 

In St James* Palace, where he was born and 
where he reigned, in the Mall and Park, at White- 
hall, in the old London City that lent him its spare 
cash to be flung with careless, joyless prodigality to 
worthless followers, the pale shade of Charles II. 
should be often seen, vainly contemplating the evil 
th^t his indolence and inability to say "No" had 
wrought directly and indirectly on individual and 

Beloved and trusted by a people wearied of 
Puritan austerities and hypocrisies, that loved 
lavish kings and hated meanness in a ruler were 
he as wise as Solomon, Charles started with the 
ability and desire to reconcile all parties in dis- 
tracted England, and was willing to be, as he 
confessed, *' the man of his people." Gifted with 
immense common sense, educated by bitter ex- 
perience in a thorough knowledge of mankind and 
their weaknesses, and possessing a natural and 
irresistible charm of manner, no Prince ever had 
so many things in his favour. For his extrava- 
gance and love of ease, he had indeed the excuse 
of having suffered much, and having long borne 
the hardships of exile and poverty. But just as 



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212 Marlborough House. 

the fidelity of his friends had saved him during his 
wanderings after the battle of Worcester, the " set " 
which surrounded him at Whitehall, and to whom 
he indolently surrendered himself, was the cause of 
his moral ruin. 

But we left him just now coming up Pall Mall — 
whither bound ? 

Not to the Palace, nor for a stroll in the neigh- 
bouring pleasant meadows and orchards, but to a 
certain house of modest dimensions on the south 
side, where Nell Gwynn was expecting him in 
her long garden at the back, under the shade of 
the elm-trees, where she had laid out a table well- 
provided with the French wines preferred by him 
to Malmsey or sack. (Dom Perignon, the pious 
monk and cellarer of the Benedictine monastery at 
Hautvilliers, alas, had not yet discovered cham- 
pagne). Here she may many a time have twitted 
the good-humoured King for having originally given 
her only a lease of the ground upon which, on receipt 
of its fee simple, and not until then, had she built her 
new house. It is a curious fact that the site of her 
residence is to this day the only one on the south 
side of Pall Mall that is not Crown property, though 
it is said the original title-deeds have never been 
discovered. After her death in 1687, the dimen- 
sions of the garden must at some period have been 
considerably curtailed. The site of her old home, 
No. 79, now the office of the Eagle Insurance Com- 
pany, terminates with a high wall, and overlooks the 


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Marlborough House. 213 

stables of Marlborough House, which are upon a 
lower level, the ground at this point and all along 
the south side of Pall Mall, having originally sloped 
towards the Park. There have been three 
houses where Nell Gwynn's house once stood, the 
last of which has been recently restored and com- 
pletely altered by Mr. J. M. Anderson, the well- 
known architect, and the attenuated garden in the 
rear, built over. Two elms of considerable size 
formerly grew right against the dividing wall, a fair 
evidence that there at least was not the original 
boundary of Nell's garden. Nor is it reasonable to 
suppose that in her days, when land was not so 
valuable as now, she would have been content with 
a pleasance but 70 feet in length, wherein to dis- 
port herself. 

That the land all about her house was covered 
with plantations, is shown in Van Wyck's paint- 
ing of Charles II. and his courtiers walking 
through the tilt-yard at Whitehall towards the 
decoy ponds ; the landscape to the north, i,e,y in 
the rear of Pall Mall, being covered with trees, 
amidst which no building is visible save the 
Queen s Chapel at St. James'. Therefore, it may 
be assumed that the late Mr. E. M. Ward, R.A. 
was correct as usual in locating the scene of his 
well-known picture — Nell Gwynn talking to King 
Charles from her garden- wall — at a spot in the 
extreme south-eastern corner of the Marlborough 
House grounds, which was kindly pointed out 


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214 Marlborough House. 

to me by Mrs. Ward herself, whose husband had 
shown It to her years ago. 

Thus the large dining-room and the Royal 
visitors rooms at Marlborough House overlook the 
identical spot where many a time poor Nell must 
have walked and talked with the swarthy-com- 
plexioned, harsh-featured, bushy-eyebrowed, eagle- 
eyed King, in black suit and flowing peruke. 

When digging out the old garden during the 
recent alterations at No. 79 Pall Mall, though no 
discoveries were made, an ancient watch was turned 
up, and of course pronounced to have belonged to 
Nell Gwynn, perhaps a present from her Royal 
master, and carelessly dropped, or flung away in a 
moment of temper. Might it not be — suggested 
the antiquarians who read of the find — one of David 
Ramsey's beautiful productions made for King 
James L ? Or even an " Edwardus East " ? so- 
called after the famous maker in Pall Mall. 

Alas ! conjecture was at fault ; as was the case last 
December when an English watch with two seals 
attached was discovered in a chimney in Newton 
Street, Holborn. It was supposed to have been 
once the property of Lord Lovat, but as the date on 
the time-piece was found to be that of forty years 
after the execution of the Jacobite Peer, the ques- 
tion was settled to the contrary. 

The Nell Gwynn watch on examination proved 
to be only an outer case of i8th century work ; and 
all hope of coming upon any new trace of the fair, 


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Marlborough House. 2 15 

but frail, little actress vanished. She will never be 
forgotten. Yet out of the multitudes who pass St. 
Martin's Church, how few are aware that Nell 
Gwynn sleeps beneath the familiar edifice, and that 
the good and charitable Archbishop Tenison 
preached her funeral sermon. 

In 1769, her house in Pall Mall was purchased by 
Dr. William Hebarden, a well-known physician of 
his time, from Dame Denise Hart, of St. James' 
Palace, who, doubtless had it from the St. Albans 

In the documents relating to this transaction it is 
stated that the house was formerly in the occupation 
of Sir Peter Leicester, Bart, and more recently in 
that of Maria, Countess Dowager of Waldegrave. 
Subsequently, the descendants of Dr. Hebarden 
conveyed the property to the Eagle Insurance Com- 
pany in the year 1866, after it had been for some 
years tenanted by the Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel in Foreign Parts. 

Although that part of the West-end now com- 
prising St. James' Square and the north side of 
Pall Mall was pasture land and orchards up to 
within five years of Charles II.'s death, as general 
prosperity increased it began to be built over ; 
nearly all the nobility leaving the city and taking 
up their abode along the Thames between West- 
minster and Temple Bar thus commencing to move 
westward in earnest. 

Distinguished strangers very quickly discovered 


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2i6 Marlborough House. 

the incomparable advantages possessed by this fine 
thoroughfare close to palace, park, and playhouse, 
and to innumerable coffee and chocolate-houses, to 
say nothing of the fashionable taverns wherein the 
best of company was to be met. 

It was in one of these latter — the " Star and 
Garter," where the Nottinghamshire Club met — 
that the poet Byron's ancestor (William, fifth Lord), 
on January 26th, in the year 1765, killed his 
relation, Mr. Chaworth, in an encounter, for one 
could hardly call it a duel. They had dined 
together at the fashionable hour of four, and, as 
was customary, had sat long over their Burgundy, 
following up that generous wine with punch. As 
the evening began to merge into night, they had 
both reached that dangerous stage of conviviality 
when argument only evokes irritability and a dis- 
position to take offence. The subject of game 
preservation and the game laws was introduced, 
and Lord Byron maintained that under his system, 
he could always show on his estate a bigger total of 
fur and feather than any of his neighbours. To 
this Chaworth took exception, and swore that he 
had more game than anyone in the County of 
Notts ; and the dispute quickly developed into a 
decorous, but bitter, quarrel. With significant 
gesture — after bidding the drawer prepare an 
adjoining chamber, and telling him that they 
wished to settle some private business there — 
they both left the room. Lord Byron entered the 


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Marlborough House. 217 

apartment first, and as Chaworth, who followed, 
was closing the door, he saw his antagonist had 
already half-drawn his sword, as if to attack. In- 
stantly whipping out his own weapon, he made a. 
swift lunge at Byron, piercing him as he supposed 
through the side, but he had merely penetrated his 
long-flapped waistcoat — unbuttoned for ease during 
the long sitting — and which, in the gloomy light 
of a single tallow candle, deceived him. Dis- 
regarding Chaworth's expression of regret, Byron 
closed, and shortening his sword, plunged it with 
great violence into Chaworth's abdomen — a blow 
which proved mortal, though he lingered in great 
agony until the morning, after doing all he could 
to exculpate Lord Byron from blame in the sad 

At another tavern, the ** Queen's Arms," the 
infamous Lord Mohun, who lodged hard by in St. 
James', supped on the night preceding the famous 
duel in Hyde Park, of November 15th, 171 2. 
One can think away the present, and picture the 
past, as the scoundrel peer, who had broken up the 
Kit-Cat Club (of which the great Duke of Marl- 
borough was an original member), sat with his 
companions in guilt, boasting and carousing until 
the small hours of morning — his last on earth — ^and 
it was time to seek some rest before the dreadful 
business should begin in the quiet glades of Hyde 
Park. How the combatants in that desperate duel 
could have gone on fighting after mutually receiving 


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2i8 Marlborottgh House. 

such fearful wounds, is a mystery ! An eye-witness 
declared that they seldom parried, but continued to 
thrust at each other until both succumbed. It was 
a fitting end for so depraved and violent a character 
as Mohun's, in the poisoned atmosphere of whose 
career his contemporaries might well exclaim : — 

" Religion blushing, veils her sacred fires, 
And, unawares, Morality expires." 

About the latter half of the i8th century, 
was founded the famous house of Christie, the 
auctioneer. The original Christie started business 
in Pall Mall, and in and out of his premises went 
all the celebrities and virtuosi of the day, amongst 
them the famous Lord Chesterfield, who became his 
patron and staunch friend. 

At Schomberg House (built in 1650), on the 
south side of Pall Mall, lived William, Duke of 
Cumberland, hero of Culloden, whose physician 
was a certain Doctor Gastaldi, renowned for his 
gourmandizing propensities, and who, dining with 
the Archbishop of Paris, in spite of the prelate's 
remonstrance, partook three times of a dish of 
deliciously-cooked salmon, which brought on a fit, 
and caused his death in a few hours. In one of 
the second - floor rooms of Schomberg House, 
expired Gainsborough, whose passion for buying 
musical instruments was so marked. His apart- 
ment was literally filled with violins, viol-de-gambas, 
hautboys, and theorbos, upon which he performed 


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Marlborough House. 219 

but indifferently. He it was whom the beauty of 
the lovely Duchess of Devonshire fairly baffled in 
his endeavour to do full justice to her perfect 
features. It was at Schomberg House, too, that 
the first idea of the Beggar's Opera was con- 
ceived, which made " Gay rich, and Rich gay," 
and which Mr. Sims Reeves considers to be " really 
a comedy with songs, rather than an opera." 

The present War Office was erected for the 
Duke of York, brother of George HI., and was 
called after him. He died, unmarried, in the year 
1767. It became a subscription club-house, and 
was designated the Albion Hotel — ^the forerunner of 
the stately edifices that now make Pall Mall almost 
an avenue of club-houses. 

Clubland is a tempting subject to dwell upon, 
but the modern club is too recent an institution to 
possess genuine ghosts. In the year 1800, there 
were but White's, Brooks', Boodle's, the Cocoa 
Tree, Graham's, and a few others in existence, 
mere tavern-clubs not counting. Reference to one 
club only, the " Marlborough," is necessary in a 
work on Marlborough House. No. 52, Pall Mall 
is quite an unpretending two - storied, narrow- 
frontaged building, with stone facings and bay 
windows, and with glazed door of oak, generally 
kept closed. It is larger than it looks from Pall 
Mall, as it runs back a considerable distance into 
Crown Court. This club consists of a small coterie 
of His Royal Highness's special friends, and is. 


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220 Marlborough House. 

one need hardly say, a most select and exclusive 
concern, numbering about eighty members, 
amongst whom are Prince Edward of Saxe- 
Weimar, Lord Colville of Culross, the Marquis 
of Conyngham, Lord Templeton, the Duke of 
St. Albans, Lord Suffield, Sir Edward Lawson, 
General Stanley de A. C. Clarke, one clergyman 
— the Rev. Charles Martyn — and, closely 
associated with the locality. Sir John Thynne 
and the Duke of Marlborough. Inside, it diffo-s 
somewhat from the gorgeous edifices of a like 
character, so common now-a-days, being quite 
plainly furnished and without any pretension to 
decorative grandeur, but sufficiently comfortable, 
well warmed and lighted, and with a cuisine and 
service of the best. There is the usual card-room, 
and a capital billiard-room ; and at the rear there 
used to be an American bowling-alley. As there 
is a magnificent one at Sandringham — specially 
built — one concludes the Prince is fond of bowls. 
Curiously enough, there is no billiard-room at 
Marlborough House (the mighty Windsor Castle 
has, I believe, but one, and that is poked away 
in the basement). There used to be one where 
Mr. Long s office and the waiting-room adjoining 
are now situated, but it was done away with years 
ago ; and if His Royal Highness desire a quiet 
game, he goes over to the " Marlborough," whither 
from his own private sitting-room he has to walk 
only a few yards. The club is a convenient place 


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Marlborough House. 221 

for the Prince to meet his very intimate friends, 
and to receive and reply to his private letters, etc. 

Now as to the origin of the name Pall Mall. 
In King Charles II.'s time, it was sometimes 
called Katherine Street, and in the year when 
Marlborough House was in course of building, 
was known as Pall Mall Street. As early as 
James I/s reign, the game of Pelle Melle was 
recommended as an excellent field exercise for the 
King s son Henry ; and there can be little doubt 
that later it was played in the long alley near St. 
James' Palace, popularly called Pall Mall ; and 
when this long alley became a street, Charles H. 
caused the portion of the Park, known to us as 
The Mall, to be laid out and reserved as a place 
where the " quality " might indulge in the popular 

There exists a " Pall Mall " — a wretched little 
street — in Liverpool, and why it is so named is 
a mystery. But with the famous London thorough- 
fare there can, I believe, be little difficulty in 
determining whence its peculiar appellation is 
derived. Paille-maille ; Palla (a ball) and Maglia 
(a mallet) supplies the key. The Italian game of 
*' palla," or " ball," has been popular since the days 
of Nero, though the plaything itself has for 
centuries been increasing in size and weight. 
** Mall," in the Icelandic signifies an ** avenue," or 
** walk covered with shells " ; and Anglice a '* public 
walk," or level, shaded resort, where ball could 


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222 Marlborough House. 

be played with malls {malleus, a hammer). There- 
fore, the street is probably so named after the 
game ; just as in future times some thoroughfare 
in Wimbledon, Hurlingham, or far-distant Sl 
Andrews, built over past all recognition, will be 
known as " Golf" or '* Polo " Avenue. 

In 1 73 1 1 the great sewer along Pall Mall was 
being arranged, and at the corner of Warwick 
Street, twenty-eight feet beneath the surface, a 
remarkable antediluvian forest was unearthed, to- 
gether with the remains of some kind of mammoth. 
Being in the neighbourhood, and pondering over 
this discovery of more than a century and a half 
ago, and the contrast between the misty past and 
the tangible present, I failed to notice that the 
rattle of street traffic had gradually subsided, and 
that Pall Mall was deserted. Presently, it began 
to grow dusk, and the houses on each side seemed 
to recede until they altogether disappeared. 
Strangely close and damp became the atmo- 
sphere, curious vegetation — sequoias and fan 
palms — appeared in groups around the spot on 
which I stood; yet no sign of human habitation, 
nor voice of man, broke the monotony of the 
view or the death-like silence. There seemed to 
be a vast estuary beyond the trees, and by the 
half light I saw elephant forms with immense 
tusks toiling up from the stagnant water, which 
they shook in glistening drops from their mighty 
sides. Herds of heavy short-legged, three-hoofed 


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Marlborough House. 223 

monsters with large heads and long snouts, 
laboriously wallowed in the distant mud, and like 
tapirs, grunted with delight as they rolled in the 
slime whereon innumerable tortoises crawled like 
the land crabs of the West Indies. As if at a 
given signal, these awful creatures suddenly paused 
in their occupation, raised their uncouth heads, and 
looking straight in my direction, simultaneously 
charged ! Not waiting for their onset, but utterly 
unnerved by these and other ghosts of the past, I 
precipitately fled, presently to recover my senses, 
and find myself in the hospitable 19th century 
smoking-room of the United University Club 
close by. 


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224 Marlborough House. 



'* Ab ovo usque ad mala," that is to say, everything 
in orderly sequence, was the excellent rule at the 
old Roman banquets, and a similar principle may 
well be observed in dealing with the antiquarian 
history of the spot on which Marlborough House 

Far back in the past, when the river Thames, 
encircling Thorney Island at Westminster, and, 
unrestrained by dyke or embankment, periodically 
enriched the land along its course, certain meadows 
pleasantly diversified by coppice and tangled under- 
growth of bush and briar, lay to the west of Charing 
village a kind of no man's land, but admirably 
situated, thought certain pious citizens of London, 
for the purpose they had in view — the building of a 
refuge for poor women afflicted with leprosy, that 
most awful form of all incurable diseases. 

Stone by stone, the quaint little structure rose 
from the ground, and duly provided with refectory, 
chantry and chapel — for the spiritual as well as 
bodily wants of its inmates had to be thought of — 


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Marlborough House. 225 

the modest charity started upon its beneficent 

During more than four centuries the brethren 
and sisters were left in peace on property legally 
theirs— even in the absence of Royal grant — by 
right of long possession. For generations past, 
had the original donors "slept with their fathers/' 
The fourteen " poor females " of the foundation 
had been succeeded again and again by others 
similarly afflicted. At Hastings, the great battle 
had been fought and won ; William the Conqueror 
became King, and in course of time Magna Charta 
was wrested from his descendant. Slowly the 
infant Parliament of England struggled into life, 
and under Henry the Fifth, France became a 
province of Britain. The Wars of the Roses 
deluged the land with blood ; Bosworth was a 
thing of the past, and the first Tudor King dying 
at Richmond was borne to a splendid tomb in the 
Abbey which, during these four hundred years, 
had slowly risen to grandeur on the banks of the 

By this time, the Hospital of St. James* had 
grown to considerable dimensions ; its gardens and 
orchards were fair to look upon and wonderfully 
productive. But more attractive still in the eyes of 
the new sport-loving monarch, Henry V HI., were 
the adjacent coverts and marshy land belonging to 
the old establishment. They swarmed with game, 
and especially with wild fowl. At the present day, 



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226 Marlborough House. 

standing on the little peninsula at the eastern end 
of St. James' Park, it is not so hard to realize that 
there was a time when flights of wild duck, and 
dark, wedge-shaped masses of teal, might be seen 
hurrying up from the saltings and desolate creeks 
at the river's mouth, to pitch down with mighty 
splashing on the solitary pools that here abounded. 
Look steadily through your field-glass at the 
weeping- willow, whose curved branch just dips 
into the water. Two grebes are hard at work 
constructing a summer residence ; a slight move- 
ment of the hand, and they instantly disappear. 
Geese — Canadian, Chinese, Egyptian, and Magel- 
lanic — are solemnly looking after their eggs. 
Ducks of all sizes and colouring are around in 
profusion — the mallard, with his speculum of rich 
shining purple ; the Carolina, tufted and pochard ; 
the common and the Chilian pintail ; the shoveller, 
widgeon, and the dainty mandarin duck. Herons 
stand motionless on one leg ; the ruddy sheldrake, 
resplendent in his wedding dress, slumbers on the 
sward, while peacocks and cock-pheasants, leaving 
all domestic cares to their sober-hued partners, 
complacently strut about, as if the park were 
entirely theirs. 

It did not take covetous King Henry long to 
discover that a hunting-lodge in this identical 
locality, " far away from the town," was an absolute 
necessity, whence he might start upon pleasant 
excursions for hawking and coursing, towards the 


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Marlborough House. 227 

woods at Kensington, or the breezy uplands of 
Hampstead. An " exchange " was, therefore, 
arranged between the Crown and the Hospital of 
St. James*, whose representatives received certain 
lands in Suffolk by way of compensation. The 
sisterhood was pensioned off, and their helpless 
leprous charges were turned out into the world, to 
find what shelter they might. Almost every trace 
of the original building vanished, and at the touch 
of Holbein, St. James' Palace sprung into existence. 
All is now tolerably plain sailing in dealing with 
the history of the locality. Stuarts succeeded to 
Tudors ; St. James* gradually became, in lieu of 
Whitehall, a centre of English Court life ; Charles 
II. was restored to his throne and his country, and 
on the 2ist of May, 1662, in a private room at 
Portsmouth, according to the rites of the Roman 
Catholic Church, Katherine of Braganza linked her 
life with that of the fickle Charles Stuart. A chapel 
had been erected in the time of the Martyr King 
for his consort, Henrietta Maria, on some ground 
adjoining the Palace used as a kind of preserve for 
half-tame pheasants and partridges. For the new 
Queen s convenience this was restored and put 
in order, its altar and Popish decorations having 
during the Commonwealth been ruthlessly de- 
molished, and the fabric itself allowed to become 
dilapidated. In addition to this, Katherine of 
Braganza was permitted to build suitable "lodg- 
ings" for her Portuguese priests next to the 



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228 Marlborough House. 

chapel, and also to erect cloisters at the rear 
which completely enclosed a "green court," 
wherein, according to ancient usage, persons be- 
longing to the religious establishment might be 
interred with proper ceremonial, but a burial- 
ground was likewise provided. 

There exists a curious plan of St. James' Palace 
printed in London 1689 for Simon Burgis, to prove 
the possibility of a child having been secretly con- 
veyed into the Queen's bed-chamber, and consequent 
illegitimacy of James II.'s son, the Pretender (the 
Warming-pan plot). This plan shows a " burying- 
place " exactly in front of the Queen s chapel — now 
the German chapel ; yet, when the present roadway 
at Marlborough Gate was constructed by the Board 
of Works in 1856, no human remains were found. 

An interesting discovery was, however, made at 
this place about the year 1862, favouring the theory 
which I advance " without prejudice," that when the 
Portuguese priests were brought over by Queen 
Katherine of Braganza, there still lingered a faint 
recollection of the old Hospital buildings, and the 
position of its original consecrated ground for inter- 
ments, thus accounting for the priests' burying-place 
being there. The "find" in question occurred 
when the cellarage attached to the residence of the 
Clerk Comptroller of the Royal kitchen was being 
enlarged, and it was necessary to excavate beneath 
the Palace walls. At a depth of about six feet from 
the surface, an ancient stone coffin was disclosed 


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Marlborough House. 229 

outside the palace wall lying with its feet to the east 
at a spot beneath the colonnade, exactly opposite 
the German chapel, and there were traces of others. 
With good taste, Sir F. C. B. Ponsonby Fane 
would not permit it to be disturbed in • any way, nor 
was its existence made known ; therefore the public, 
as they pass to and from Pall Mall and the Park, are 
unaware that any relics of mortality lie beneath 
their feet. 

So enamoured became Katherine of Braganza 
with the ** Friary " as it began to be called, that 
Charles II. granted her a lease of the premises for 
ninety-nine years at the nominal rent of five shillings 

In 1701, during the reign William III., the Earl 
of Albemarle, apparently unaware of the existence 
of this grant, applied to the Crown for a lease, in- 
tending to re-build the dwelling-houses ; and the 
Surveyor-General reported that the property was 
worth ;^I50 a year, or a fine of ;^2,250 for a fifty 
years' lease. But the fact of King Charles' grant 
afterwards coming to his knowledge, caused further 
negotiations to be abandoned by the Earl. 

Then came the year 1708, when the Duke of 
Marlborough was at -the height of his fame, and 
the Queen could refuse nothing to the hero of 
Oudenarde. Therefore at the recommendation of 
Godolphin, that honest minister eulogized by King 
William III. as "never in the way, or out of the 
way," and on the petition of the Duchess, a fifty 


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230 Marlborough House. 

years* lease of the Friary and grounds attached, was 
granted to her under the Great Seal, in the name 
of certain trustees, at a yearly rental of five shillings, 
in consideration of the payment of £2,000, the 
lessees having power to erect certain buildings to be 
approved by the Surveyor-General ; but they were 
prohibited from putting up any tenements in the 
-existing garden. 

This was in August of 1 708, and the legal formali- 
vties being at last satisfactorily settled, the Duchess 
was at liberty to think about the plans for her new 
house. She wisely consulted Sir Christopher Wren, 
who, though in his 76th year, was in as full posses- 
sion of his mental powers as when St. PauFs 
Cathedral beneath his guiding hand rose phoenix- 
like from its ashes. 

To the delight of the Duke and Duchess of 
Buckingham, between whose families and the 
Marlboroughs there had been considerable coolness, 
Sarah Duchess selected their town mansion as a 
model for her own. 

The first thing done after deciding upon the 
design, was to demolish the old structures except, 
perhaps, the priests* " lodgings " next to the chapel, 
and to prepare the basements of the mansion ; and 
on Tuesday, May 24th, 1709 (O.S.) — a fine, warm 
day — the foundation stone of Marlborough House 
was laid without any ceremony, the event creating 
so little stir in fashionable society that it was not so 
much as mentioned by the " Tatler." The stone, 


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Marlborough House. 231 

quite a small one, about 3 feet long, bears the 
following inscription : — 

'' Laid by 
Her Grace the Dutches of Marlborough 

May ye 24 ) 1709." 
June ye 4th ) 

Facing the north-west, it must have originally been 
visible from the quadrangle just above the ground, 
as there used to be a grating close to it, evidently 
for ventilating purposes. No longer forming part 
of the outer wall, the stone, since the extensive 
additions to the north front of the house, is now to 
be seen close to a staircase in the passage beneath 
the corridor. The Duchess, as will be noticed, had 
the old and new styles of dating inscribed upon the 
foundation stone, thus showing herself ahead of her 
times, as the new mode of reckoning did not come 
into general use until 1752. Doubtless her constant 
correspondence with the Continent, where Pope 
Gregory's reform had for some years been in force, 
influenced her action in the matter. 

With great rapidity the work proceeded; and 
three months later, L c, in August, it was com- 
monly reported about town that the Duchess's 
house had advanced prodigiously, and was already 
" a covering," which meant that the basement 
was completed and boarded over. By the Feb- 
ruary following, people were able to form some 


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232 Marlborough House. 

little idea of what the mansion would be like, and 
the general opinion seems to have been that it would 
be one of the most perfect in England. 

As the building progressed, the Duke, who was 
still abroad campaigning, received from the Duchess 
sundry commissions, one of them showing the 
** frugal mind '* that characterized them both. In a 
letter from Sir Christopher Wren to the Duchess, 
dated October 31st, 17 10, he says, " The rooms will 
take up about 1 2,000 tiles, and the chimneys about 
2,200/' This letter was sent on to the Duke 
endorsed by the Duchess to the effect that she 
could give him no better instructions regarding the 
tiles she required, which were "cheap " in Holland, 
and ** coming with him " would " cost less and be 
less trouble." They were to be quite white without 
the least painting upon them. No doubt the greater 
number were intended for a sort of dado in the hall 
and kitchen, such as can be seen to this day in 
old Dutch houses ; but her intention was never 
carried out, as no trace of the tiles can be found at 
Marlborough House or at Blenheim. 

When Sir Horace Rumbold, Bart, G.C.M.G. 
British Minister at the Hague, was kindly making 
some researches for me on the subject, he^ — ^like 
Saul, the son of Kish — came upon something of 
deeper interest ; for although he could find no 
record of tiles in the State archives, he discovered 
some documents relating to a request made by the 
British Secretary of the Legation for the free 


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Marlborough House. 233 

export of six large looking-glasses for the Duke of 
Marlborough, evidently intended for the embellish- 
ment of Marlborough House, the permit to ship 
them from Rotterdam being dated March, 17 10. 
This is the English rendering of his application and 
the reply : — 

" High and Puissant Gentlemen, — The under 
signed Secretary of Her Majesty the Queen of 
Great Britain, humbly prays your Highnesses to 
grant their Passport for six great mirrors which 
have to be sent from Antwerp to Rotterdam for the 
Duke of Marlborough, in order that they may 
without hindrance pass by Lille and other places, 
and be shipped from Rotterdam to England. 

" Sa D'Ayrolle." 

To which those " potent, grave, and reverend 
Signiors," the States General, graciously replied as 
follows : — 

" Resolution of the States General, 3rd March, 
1710 — 

"In answer to the Memoradum of the Secretary, 
D'Ayrolle, it has been resolved, after previous 
deliberation, that a Passport shall be forwarded for 
the exportation of six great mirrors on behalf of 
the Duke of Marlborough from Antwerp to Rotter- 
dam to be exported from there to England free 
and without payment of any duties, and a copy of 


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234 Marlborough House. 

the Resolution of their Highnesses will be sent 
to the Admiralty Board of Zeeland which has been 
ordered to see that the above-named mirrors be 
passed through their offices free, without hindrance 
and without any molestation. 

*' Minute book of the States General, 
" 1709/10." 

" Passport in reply to the Memorandum of the 
Secretary D'AyroUe praying to export six great 
mirrors on behalf of the Duke of Marlborough 
from Antwerp to Rotterdam, and from there to 

" Given at the Hague, 

" March 3rd, 17 10." 

Dutch bricks were undoubtedly used in the con- 
struction of Marlborough House, rather smaller than 
those made in England, redder in colour, and de- 
cidedly cheaper. They were brought over as ballast 
in some of the numerous hired transports constantly 
coming and going between Holland and Deptford, 
where they were usually paid off. High-sterned, 
bluff-bowed merchantmen, such as the Elephant^ 
Expedition, or Margate — names that fre- 
quently occur in the Transport office records of 
1709-10 — might well have had as cargo the raw 
material of the house then building in Pall Mall, 
whither the bricks could easily be carted from West- 
minster, the nearest point of discharge, where 


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Marlborough House. 235 

lumbering barges with gaily painted stems and 
sterns much like those to be seen any day on the 
Thames, had carried them from Woolwich or 
Deptford Yard. 

Sarah Duchess had long realized that the space 
at her disposal in the Friary grant, was not suffi- 
cient to provide so large a garden as she had 
mentally planned, to say nothing of the offices 
and riding-school she had calculated upon having. 
Accordingly, in 1709, a new lease of fifty years 
(in the name of the same trustees) was obtained 
from the Crown under the Great Seal, cancelling 
the original one, and including the piece of land 
next to the Friary, formerly in the possession of 
Mr. Secretary Boyle, and known as the Royal 
Garden. It was about two acres in extent, thus 
bringing up the total of the Duchess's leasehold 
property to its present area of about four and three- 
quarter acres. The consideration for this new lease 
was a ground rent of ;^I4 for the two pieces of 
ground, the lessees agreeing to lay out in the 
course of three years a sum of not less than ;^8,ooo 
in improvements and building, while retaining full 
permission to pull down and alter any existing 

The laying out of the garden was duly taken in 
hand, and acccmplished at a cost of something 
under ;^500, at the sacrifice — so it was said at the 
time— of many fine old trees, while the work of 
clearing away and levelling proceeded. Uninterest- 


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236 Marlborough House. 

ing and uniform was the result, as may be clearly- 
seen in Kip's bird's-eye view of St. James' Palace 
and Marlborough House. One shilling and eight- 
pence per diem was the wage paid to the labourers 
engaged upon this work, not such bad pay con- 
sidering the different value of money and the com- 
parative cheapness of provisions ; the general rate 
throughout England in the i8th century for agri- 
cultural labour being according to Professor Lecky, 
ten and ninepence per week within twenty miles 
of London, decreasing in proportion to the distance 
from town, until, 1 70 miles away, the wage dwindled 
down to but six shillings and three-pence. 

At Midsummer, 171 1, the house was finished, 
and occupied by the Duke and Duchess. It did 
not present any very imposing appearance, being 
merely a fair-sized, very plain one-storied building, 
little more than one-half the height it is at present, 
with long narrow windows — not unlike its neigh- 
bour, the Palace — and without any portico entrance, 
but its situation in the midst of the rapidly growing 
west-end was undeniably excellent. Its weak point 
was the approach from Pall Mall — inconvenient and 
cramped as it is to this day — ^and must often have 
excited wonder that an abode so important could 
have been so defective in the matter of avenue 
and entrance gates. 

A certain curate of St. James' Church, Piccadilly, 
the Rev. M. E. C. Walcott, who wrote a handbook 
to his parish in 1854, gives the following plausible 


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Marlborough House. 237 

explanation of this anomaly, which has apparently 
been accepted by almost every writer on the subject 
since. It was the Duchess's wish, he says, ** to 
make an entrance for her house, then called Priory 
Court, into Pall Mall, but Sir Robert Walpole, having 
quarrelled with her, bought the house in front of it 
in the main street, and so frustrated her purpose." 

That the Duchess intended to improve the 
approaches after Sir Robert Walpole's resignation 
and retirement in 1 742 is evident from a block plan 
in existence at Blenheim, dated 1 744, which shows 
the proposed enlargement of the entrance by 1 1 1 
feet, to be obtained by the demolition of four 
narrow houses which stood in the way in Pall Mall : 
but her death ensuing in the same year, the idea 
was obviously abandoned, and the requisite crown 
lease never applied for. Far from desiring to 
frustrate her purpose, Sir Robert Walpole — 
although he may have " fallen out " with her — was 
willing to further her designs, for in one of her 
letters she writes of him that he had on several 
occasions told her that he could do most things at 
the Treasury upon his own authority, and regretted 
that she made no use of his influence, except to 
obtain the lease enabling her to make a way into 
Marlborough House. In the same letter, she states 
that Marlborough House had cost the Duke and 
herself close upon ;^50,ocx:>. This information is 
taken from the few papers and documents referring 
to Marlborough House that are preserved at 


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238 Marlborough House. 

Blenheim. These records also show that the 
Walcott report originated in the fact that — pre- 
sumably at the instigation of Sir Robert Walpole 
— the Duchess was refused the privilege of going 
from her residence through St. James Park in her 
coach, a favour she had enjoyed during Queen 
Anne's reign. In complaining of this treatment, 
she said, that although she had no desire to see St. 
James' Park transformed into a street, she thought, 
considering the situation of her house, and the 
little use she had made of the liberty granted to 
her, the privilege might have been continued. She 
drew attention to the fact that the approach from 
Pall Mall was through a narrow passage, and that 
in consequence of the encroachments (evidently the 
buildings that had been erected), a coach and six 
horses could hardly get out from Marlborough 
House. If the Duchess's intention had been 
carried out, the approach from Pall Mall would 
now extend from Marlborough Gate to about the 
extreme end of. the Guard's Club House. 

Another popular tradition was that in order to 
secure speedy and constant access to Queen Anne 
at the time of her ascendancy over the Sovereign, 
the Duchess caused a covered bridge to be con- 
structed between Marlborough House and the 
Palace. This could only have been effected from 
the coach-houses adjoining the German chapel, 
where the width across the footpath from Pall Mall 
was only 10 feet ; but the Duchess in proceeding to 


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Marlborough House. 239 

this isolated building for the purpose of reaching 
the Palace, would have been seen by everyone in 
the place- No authentic record can be found at 
Blenheim, nor is there a trace in any existing print, 
of this bridge. 

Queen Anne s " lodgings " in the Palace were on 
the south side, facing the Mall ; and all that the 
Duchess had to do was to take the nearest way, i.e., 
through the side gate in her own garden, and 
crossing the road — which here was as wide and 
unbridgeable as it is at present — go through 
the " iron gate " of the Palace, when she could 
readily, and almost unobserved, get access to 
the back-stairs* entrance leading to the Queen's 
apartments. All this can be easily proved on 
inspecting any of the contemporary prints of the 

By the Duchess's will, dated August nth, 1744, 
the residue of the crown lease was left in trust for 
George, second Duke of Marlborough. Now 
ensues the record of bewildering succession of 
surrendering and renewing of leases on the part 
of trustees of the crown — splendid legal pasturage 
on which conveyancers of the old school may 
graze to their heart's content, but maddening in 
their complication to ordinary intellect. In 1784, 
the Surveyor-General reported that a lease of 50 
years could be granted, and stated that the sub- 
stantial brick mansion and offices were in good 
repair, and could be valued at a rental of ;^6oo per 


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240 Marlborough House. 

annum, a considerable advance upon the estimate of 

Accordingly a final lease of 50 years for the 
mansion, offices and gardens was granted by the 
Crown in 1785, expiring in 1835 ; but for a portion 
of the premises called the '* front court," another 
lease terminated in 18 17, and was not apparently 
renewed, although the rent continued to be paid 
into the Land Revenue Offices until 1835. This 
gave rise to the impression, formed at the time of 
the Princess Charlotte's marriage, that the Duke of 
Marlborough's lease lapsed altogether to the Crown 
in the year 181 7. 

Meantime, sundry additions and improvements 
went on at Marlborough House after Sarah 
Duchess's death. A second storey, low and in- 
commodious, and with small square windows, was 
added by Charles, the third Duke — who succeeded 
to the tide in 1733 — ^and the ground-floor apart- 
ments were improved. 

A large riding-school was built on the site of the 
present stables, by George, the fourth Duke, who 
succeeded in 1758, and the fabric thenceforth 
remained practically unaltered until its occupancy 
by the Prince of Wales in 1863. 

As the Prince's family began to increase, it was 
discovered that the old upper rooms, which had 
been devoted to the children's use, were somewhat 
unhealthy and unsuitable ; and the fire that took 
place in the year 1865 had revealed the fact that the 


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Marlborough House. 241 

timber was in anything but a sound condition, there- 
fore steps were at once taken to re-model this 
portion of the mansion, and to build an additional 
story to the sides, but not to the centre of the house. 
Under the direction of Mr. J. Taylor, one of the 
surveyors of Her Majesty's Board of Works, this 
operation was skilfully and satisfactorily executed 
in the year 1870. At the same time Sir Dighton 
Probyn's room and the school-room were built on 
the north front. 

In the course of the alterations, it was ascer- 
tained that although the lower walls were thick the 
upper portion would hardly bear the burden of an 
additional story, without some further support, 
which was judiciously afforded by means of iron 
girders concealed in the brickwork. 

Scamping is no mere product of the intense com- 
petition of the 19th century. Though not so 
universally practised, it was perfectly well known in 
the past, as evidenced by part of the masons' work 
in the old top story {temp. George II.), which was 
found to be largely made up of rubbish secundum 
artem. Even some of Inigo Jones' work, or rather 
that of his designing, has been proved to be not 
quite above suspicion in this respect. In fact, Mr. 
J. Taylor met with an example of ultra refinement 
in the art of scamping when the new New United 
Service Institution was building at Whitehall, for 
on the top floor, luckily in a position where no 
harm could arise, a portion of the south wall 



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242 Marlborough House. 

was disclosed, filled up, not with rubbish, but with 
hay ! 

These extensive alterations to Marlborough 
House added considerably to the comfort of its 
inmates, the original top floor being heightened to 
the proportions of that beneath it, and the new 
top-most one affording excellent accommodation 
for the servants. Sir Christopher Wren's style 
was adhered to as much as possible, and on the 
garden-front, the new story was embellished with 
stone medallions of the Prince of Wales' feathers. 
Altogether it was much improved in appearance. 
Indeed, few houses look more charming than does 
Marlborough House in the summer, its rather 
monotonous garden-front broken by the conserva- 
tory, and by its flower bedecked windows, beautifully 
draped within and shaded without by gay-coloured 

The Prince of Wales sitting-room — on the first 
floor, facing the quadrangle — was built in 1874-75 > 
and a corresponding room was added on the east 
side of the building, so that the elevation should 
be symmetrical. A story was also added in 1885 
to the east and west wings of the office buildings. 
In plan Marlborough House is almost a square, 
with the saloon in the centre. The ground floor 
is devoted entirely to the state apartments ; the 
first floor to the private rooms of the Prince 
and Princess of Wales and Royal visitors ; the 
second floor to those of the young Princesses 


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Marlborough House. 243 

and Miss Knollys ; while the third floor — which 
extends on two sides of the square only — is occu- 
pied by servants. Including the domestic offices 
there are about one hundred and six rooms in the 
house, and it may be stated for the benefit of those 
who love exactitude, that the ground covered by 
Marlborough House and garden, including its 
approaches, is nearly 454 acres, also that the 
dimensions of the grounds are 542 feet east and 
west, and 364 feet north and south. There are 
three carriage entrances, one in Pall Mall and two 
in Marlborough Gate, where there is also a private 
door by the side of the German chapel These 
are the only means of entry and exit. It may be 
noted that, as a result of the way in which the 
house is planned, it has three garden-frontages. 

Most of the older mansions in London had very 
primitive arrangements for drainage, and it is not 
astonishing that outbreaks of malignant fever 
periodically killed off their inhabitants. Primitive 
as the system was, it was not very bad so long 
as the connecting drain-pipes remained level, or 
nearly so ; but in the course of time as the earth 
beneath them subsided, the pipes dipped, and the 
natural outflow from the house was diverted, 
especially after heavy rains, in the opposite direc- 
tion, actually filtering backwards under the base- 
ment, and imperceptibly producing a shocking 
state of insanitation. This was the case at 
Marlborough House until 1877-78, when every- 


Digitized by VjOOQIC 

244 Marlborough House. 

thing was set right, and a system in accord with 
the advanced science of the day, was carried into 
practical effect. 

The old sewer running from St. James* Palace — 
— with which the Marlborough House system is 
connected — is substantially built of brick, and of 
considerable antiquity. It used to lead direct to the 
river by way of the Horse Guards in Whitehall, 
and Mr. J. Wilkie, the obliging Clerk of the Works 
at St. James' Palace, to whom I am indebted 
for much valuable information, tells me that it is 
large enough for a man to walk through with his 
hat on. During spring tides, the water used to 
be forced up the sewer, filling it to the top and 
frequently flooding the basement of the Palace, 
but now that it is connected with the main drainage 
this is rendered impossible. 

St. James' and neighbourhood is noted for its 
healthiness, partly attributable to its gravel soil and 
to the open ground round about the Palace and 
Marlborough House, and in neither of these abodes 
are cases of sickness often known. 

Her Majesty's Board of Works may be regarded 
in the light of benevolent landlords of Marlborough 
House. They do everything that is required in 
the way of making good all structural defects, effect- 
ing repairs, and keeping things in general in order, 
not even forgetting the cleaning of windows and the 
sweeping of chimneys. One thing, however, this 
paternal department cannot do for Marlborough 


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Marlborough House. 245 

House, and that is, pay the parochial rates, which 
are heavy enough, in all conscience. 

Buckingham Palace being an actual, though only 
occasional residence of the Sovereign, pays no rates, 
About one half of St. James' Palace is occupied by 
the Queen's official servants, and they are therefore 
exempt from parochial taxation ; for the remaining 
half of the Palace and precincts, Her Majesty by 
"grace and favour " contributes to the St. Martin's 
rates ;^450 every year. 

Marlborough House, however — regarded as a 
private residence — is assessed by St. Martin's parish 
at ;^4,439 ,• and taking the average rate to be 6s. in 
the £, the amount payable yearly by His Royal 
Highness is the respectable sum of ;^ 1,331. 

Soon after George HI.'s accession to the throne, 
a certain Mr. John Gwynne, architect, published an 
elaborate description of how London, and especially 
the West-end, could be altered and beautified. His 
work, excellently illustrated, was dedicated to the 
King, and sold at Mr. Dalton's, in Pall Mall. Mr. 
Gwynne suggested that the nation should erect a 
splendid palace for the Sovereign, in the middle of 
Hyde Park ; or, as an alternative to this ambitious 
scheme, that the entire block bounded by a portion 
of Piccadilly on the north, Cleveland Row and 
Clarence House on the south, St. James' Street on 
the east, and the Green Park on the west, should 
be devoted to a palatial residence in lieu of St. 
James' Palace. 


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246 Marlborough House. 

Loyal John Gwynne's idea suggests a similar one. 
If at any future time it should be thought desirable 
to provide a new home for the Heir Apparent to 
the British throne, a magnificent edifice, up to date 
in every respect, and forming an architectural feature 
of the renewed metropolis, could easily be erected 
in that eastern portion of the Green Park which 
faces Devonshire House and other mansions up to 
Bolton street. . The frontage would be splendid, the 
position unrivalled, and the view from its windows, 
of gardens and terraces across the rise towards the 
Surrey hills, magnificent. The appropriation of this 
slip of Park would incommode nobody, as this 
particular part is never used save by a few nurse- 
maids with their charges, and by tramps reclining 
upon the grass in the hot weather. As a matter of 
exchange, the gain to the national exchequer would 
be considerable ; the cost of the new building and 
laying out of its grounds would be much more than 
covered by the ground-rents accruing from the site 
of Marlborough House. Ground-rents in Pall Mall 
are quoted at present at about 9s. 6d. per foot ; 
therefore, with proper management the 45^ acres 
of ground occupied by Marlborough House would 
represent an income enabling my suggestion to be 
carried out financially with the greatest ease. 


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Marlborough House.. 24; 



That a funeral - car should ever have been ex- 
hibited at Marlborough House seems strange to 
the present generation ; but every middle - aged 
individual must recollect the unsightly shed in the 
quadrangle, where for several years the Wellington 
car, deprived of many of its adornments, used to be 
seen on payment of a small fee. 

In the middle of September, 1852, the great 
Duke of Wellington, the ** hero of a hundred 
fights " succumbed to the 

" single warrior 
In sombre harness mailed, 
Dreaded of man, and surnamed the Destroyer," 


" did not pause to parley or dissemble. 
But smote the warden hoar." 

Great Britain having decided that the funeral 
should be on a stupendous scale, the preparations 
were necessarily prolonged, and two months 
elapsed before the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral 
received the ashes of the Duke. A magnificent 


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248 Marlborough Hotise. 

funeral-car had from the first been decided upon as 
the central feature of the imposing procession, and 
the carrying out of the idea was entrusted to the 
School of Design, a modest institution originally 
accommodated at Somerset House, and after the 
death of the Queen Dowager, in the upper rooms of 
Marlborough House. All the technical arrange- 
ments for the funeral were left to Messrs. Holland, 
an old-established London firm, who proved fully 
€qual to the arduous task set before them. They 
had previously gone down to Walmer Castle to 
take charge of the Duke's remains, and convey 
them to London. Both the plain little room in 
which he expired as well as the principal 
apartments in the Castle, had been hung with 
finest black cloth — expense not being considered 
on such an occasion — and when the Duke's body 
had been started upon its last journey, a regrettable 
wrangling arose as to the possession of these sable 
hangings. They were claimed as perquisites by the 
Duke's attendants, but their claim was ultimately 
disallowed, and the draperies were sent back to 
Messrs. Holland by the chaplain. 

This incident need occasion little surprise, as 
Court history is full of such disputes, requiring 
the most delicate adjustment on the part of officials 
to prevent an open breach of the peace. For 
instance, at the coronation of Charles H., after the 
banquet at Westminster Hall, when the King had 
left, the Royal footmen " got hold of the canopy," 


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Marlborough House. 249 

under which, accompanied by Barons of the Cinque 
Ports, who upheld it by its six silver staves, the 
King, with the crown on his head, had entered the 
Hall. It was a prize worth having, no doubt, and 
a furious contest seems to have raged between the 
barons and the footmen for its possession, until 
the Duke of Albemarle wisely caused the bone of 
contention to be placed in the hands of Sir Robert 
Page, pending an arbitration thereon next day. 
Even at Buckingham Palace during the Georgian 
period, in fact, until the late Prince Consort 
initiated a system of much needed reform in the 
domestic arrangements, it was a common practice 
after a grand ball there, when perhaps some 800 
tapers had been used, for the most unseemly 
scramble to take place amongst the pages for the 
candle ends. 

Quite forty-seven years had elapsed since a car 
at all resembling Wellington's had been seen in 
the streets of London ; and, needless to say, this 
was at the state burial of Lord Nelson, when the 
pageant was one of the most impressive ever 
witnessed. This funereal but triumphal chariot was 
supposed to represent the ** Victory." There was 
a figure-head in front, and at the stern floated the 
hero's ensign, half-mast high. The coffin (without 
pall) — made out of the mainmast of V Orient after 
the battle of the Nile — rested in the centre, beneath 
a lofty catafalque supported by draped palm-trees 
at each corner, with the significant motto, " Palmam 


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250 Marlborough House,. 

qui meruit ferat " above, and the name of one of 
Nelson's greatest victories, the ** Nile " in front, 
while the words " Trafalgar " and " Copenhagen " 
figured on each side of the hangings below, which 
partly concealed the base of the car and its four 
massive wheels. 

Another historic funeral-car — that used at the 
state obsequies of Napoleon the Great — had to be 
considered ere the design for the great Duke's could 
finally be decided upon. Early in the morning of 
December 15th, 1840, to the accompaniment of 
thundering salutes, and with much incense, the 
great Emperor's coffin, surrounded by a vast crowd, 
was landed from the barge lying near the Invalides, 
and transferred by the sailors of the Belle Poule 
(which had brought it from St. Helena) to the 
Imperial car. This was hardly artistic, being little 
better than a huge, cumbrous machine, rolling, as 
best it might, upon four wheels of antique shape. 
Upon the platform thus supported, adorned, with 
banners, laurels, eagles, and velvet hangings, were 
twelve gilded statues, upholding with raised arms 
an enormous shield whereon rested the coffin. An 
Imperial crown, partly concealed by violet crape, 
was placed on the top of all, and at a given signal, 
horses in splendid trappings, led by grooms in 
Imperial livery, drew the vast structure slowly, and 
with difficulty, to its destination. 

The Wellington car differed materially from 
both of these. Its main feature, like the two 


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Marlborough House. 251 

just described, was necessarily a platform calculated 
to bear a considerable weight, but a trophy at the 
four corners consisting of real helmets, guns, flags 
and drums, produced a sense of reality and fitting- 
ness, contrasting favourably with the semi-theatrical 
adornments of the vehicle upon which the body of 
Napoleon was borne to the Invalides. Wellington's 
bier, covered with a splendid velvet pall, diapered 
with the Duke's crest and baton across, fringed 
with laurel leaves, the whole worked in silver, 
rested upon this platform ; and upon the bier 
beneath a canopy of rich tissue, supported by 
halberds, lay the coffin, uncovered by pall, and 
bearing upon it the old warrior s sword and plumed 

(By the way, the great Duke was always sup- 
posed to be somewhat below the ordinary height of 
man; but this, like many other popular illusions, 
has recently been dispelled — and in a very simple 
manner. A suit of clothes worn by the Duke of 
Wellington, was tried on by the present Duke's 
butler, a man of medium stature, and proved too 
big for him.) 

A carriage-framing, fitted with six ponderous 
bronze wheels of antigue design, supported the 
whole. It was richly adorned with bronze figures 
of ** Fame " upholding palm branches, with panels 
of ** Fame," lions' heads, and the Duke's Arms. 
As there was not sufficient time to cast some of 
these figures — lions' heads, etc. — in metal, they 


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252 Marlborough House, 

were temporarily constructed in carton pierre and 
bronzed over, but the effect was the same. 
Shields, bearing the names of the endless engage- 
ments in which the great Commander had taken 
part, surrounded the platform. Altogether, the 
impression produced was one of grandeur, 
simplicity, and dignity combined. The entire 
edifice — for such it was — had been draped and 
beflagged by Messrs. Holland ; and, in order to 
give an air of vraisemblance to the car while on 
exhibition in the courtyard of Marlborough House, 
some of this drapery was allowed to remain. In 
its present condition in the crypt of St. Paul's 
Cathedral, it is shorn of all its pomp and circum- 
stance. A few years ago, the Council of the 
Institute of British Carriage Manufacturers made 
an application to the Dean and Chapter for its 
restoration and removal to some more suitable 
spot ; but nothing came of it. Possibly, the most 
appropriate place wherein to exhibit this memorial 
of a great military leader, would be the Royal 
United Service Institution's new premises at 
Whitehall, not many yards from the Horse Guards, 
issuing from whence, the Iron Duke, clad in blue 
frock-coat, white trousers, and neck-cloth, the whole 
surmounted by a narrow-brimmed hat, was a sight 
familiar enough to a past generation. 

Visitors to the Vernon Collection at Marlborough 
House, who en route ^ inspected the funeral-car in 
the courtyard, quickly realized the difficulty that 


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Marlborough House. 253 

had been experienced in moving this ponderous 
vehicle. It was one thing to construct, quite, 
another matter to haul the construction along the 
line of route to the Cathedral; and when a re- 
hearsal was decided upon the day before the 
funeral, ordinary undertakers' horses were found to 
be utterly powerless to draw their load. An official 
in the Lord Chamberlain's department was, how- 
ever, equal to the occasion, and promptly pressed 
into service the dray-horses of a well-known 
London firm of distillers. These splendid creatures, 
covered from head to foot with sable trappings, 
and led by trusty drivers, clad in mourning, with 
whose voices they were familiar, easily surmounted 
the difficulty, and added materially to the state- 
liness of the spectacle. 

In the year i860, the association of Marlborough 
House with this historic car finally ceased, as it 
was then made over to the care of the Office of 
Works, by whom it was transferred to St. Paul's 

But what was the Vernon Collection referred to 
as being accommodated in Marlborough House ? 

When Marlborough House was settled upon 
the Prince of Wales, the Marquess of Lansdowne 
explained to the House of Lords that " it might be 
desirable to appropriate it to the object of displaying 
the collection of pictures which, by the munificence 
of the late Mr. Vernon, had become the property of 
the country. While in the House of Commons 


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254 Marlborough House. 

during the ensuing debate, the Chancellor of 
the Exchequer explained that it was not proposed 
to keep up any establishment at Marlborough 
House for the purposes of the Vernon collection. 
" There would/' said he " merely be porters at the 
door, and door-keepers to take care of the pictures 

Wandering through the spacious courts and 
galleries of the present edifice in the Cromwell 
Road, wherein are contained some of the most mag. 
nificent art objects in the world, rivalling even those 
of the Louvre or the Hotel de Cluny, and in many 
departments even surpassing these collections, it is 
hard to imagine that the first adumbration of this 
splendid institution was to be seen in seven or eight 
comparatively small rooms of a disused old mansion, 
where some porcelain and a .few ill-hung pictures 
represented in the year 1850 economical John Bull's 
faint appreciation of a higher culture. 

An amusing article entitled " A house full of 
horrors " appearing in " Household Words," 
humorously describes a visit paid to Marlborough 
House by a certain Mr. Crumpet, who, until his in- 
spection of the ideal patterns and designs of the 
Practical Art Department, had always considered 
himself the happiest and most contented man in 
existence. Ever after, he became haunted by the 
most horrid shapes. " I could have cried, Sir. I 
was ashamed of the pattern of my own trousers, for 
I saw a piece of them hung there as a horror ! I 


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Marlborough House. 255 

dared not pull out my handkerchief while anyone 
was by, lest I should be seen dabbling the perspira- 
tion from my forehead with a wreath of coral. I 
saw it all when I went home. I found that I had 
been living among horrors up to that hour." 

In 1853-54, a splendid opportunity arose for the 
nation to acquire at a reasonable cost a most valuable 
addition to its art collection ; but as is too often the 
case, the purchase was deprived of completeness 
through the parsimony of the then existing Govern- 
ment -the Earl of Aberdeen's). The facts were 
these : Mr. Bernal, Chairman of Committees in the 
House of Commons, had for several years been 
creating an extensive collection of objets etArt (por- 
celain, etc.) which had cost him some ;^20,ooo. 
Nothing could have been more desirable than that 
Great Britain should possess it ; and when Colonel 
Sandham, son-in-law and executor of Mr. Bernal, 
wrote to Mr. Henry Cole, offering it for ;^5o,cxx> 
on the condition that a reply should be given within 
ten days from date. Prince Albert was consulted, 
who, with his usual clear insight into the merits of a 
thing, and with keen artistic perception of the ex- 
cellence of the proposed transaction, at once pro- 
nounced in favour of the purchase. Lord Granville 
also was well disposed towards it, and a meeting of 
the Commissioners of the 1851 Exhibition was held 
on February 8th, to consider the matter. As to 
funds, there was not the slightest difficulty, for a 
large surplus had, as everybody knows, accrued 


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256 Marlborough House. 

from the World s Grand Show in Hyde Park. Mr. 
Disraeli was for buying the collection ; Mr. Glad- 
stone, with constitutional " open-mindedness " was 
both for and against such a course, giving no doubt 
eloquent reasons for taking this view of the matter. 

Ultimately it was agreed that ;^20,ooo only 
should be expended, the Department of Practical 
Art (now converted into the Science and Art De- 
partment) to contribute ;^ 12,000, and the British 
Museum, ;^8,ooo. Mr. Gladstone managed to 
impose a condition which proved rather calamitous, 
viz. that the Department was to limit the price of 
every object, and that any balance remaining after 
the purchases were effected was to be refunded, and 
not used in acquiring other articles, however desir- 
able, if exceeding the official sum ; the result being-, 
that some of the most beautiful specimens were lost. 

All this time the Vernon Gallery of paintings, 
which included some by Turner and many other 
great British artists, were on view in the lower 
rooms of Marlborough House, and were well worth 
seeing, many of the works now so familiar to 
visitors at the National Gallery being in those days 
quite new to the general public. 

Almost simultaneously with the installation at 
Marlborough House of the objects purchased at the 
Great Exhibition, it became evident that special 
facilities for advanced instruction in art and science, 
should be afforded the School of Design students 
at Somerset House, and it was not long before 


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Marlborough House. 257 

they were installed at Marlborough House, which 
from the year 1852, became the head-quarters of 
the new " Normal Training School of Art" 

But a permanent home had to be found for all 
these purchases. The fact had to be faced that when 
the Prince of Wales should attain his majority, the 
premises at Marlborough House would have to be 
vacated. Again the Prince Consort was ready as 
ever with an admirable plan, the result of much fore- 
sight. He suggested to the late Sir Henry Cole — 
to whose work on " Fifty years of Public Work " 
I am indebted for some of these facts — that a com- 
pany should be formed to erect suitable buildings on 
a quadrangular piece of ground adjoining Holy 
Trinity Church, Brompton, to be used as temporary 
galleries for the Marlborough House Museum, the 
Educational Museum, and the British Museum. 
His Royal Highness sketched on blotting-paper, a 
ground plan and elevation of the proposed buildings, 
and desired Professor Semper to at once make 
finished drawings of the same. The Prince's ideas, 
however, proved to be rather too grandiose for the 
purpose, and something less expensive had to be 
thought of Lord Palmerston asked Parliament for 
;^i 5,000, a sum deemed sufficient to provide 
covered space for the artistic treasures mentioned. 
This amount was voted without a division, and 
a group of iron buildings, which earned for 
themselves the name of " Boilers," were erected 
by Sir W. Cubitt, whither the entire collection 

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258 Marlborough House. 

was transferred from Marlborough House, July 3, 

Meantime, Mr. )• Sheepshanks had bequeathed 
to the nation his magnificent collection of modern 
British paintings ; and, as no accommodation could 
be found for them in the Brompton sheds, the 
Government, willy nilly, had to authorize for their 
reception, the construction of a permanent gallery 
at Brompton, from the designs of Captain Fowke, 

At 9.30 p.m. on June 20th, 1857, Her Majesty 
the Queen and Prince Albert opened this new 
gallery, which ceremony taking place after dark, 
necessarily involved its being lighted by gas — 
then a novelty in the administration of museums or 
public gcilleries — which was permanently adopted, 
and universally approved. 

A suggestion had been made to the Prince Con- 
sort to designate the new Institute, the " South 
itensington Museum,** of which the Queen and His 
Royal Higness signified their approbation on the 
occasion of its opening. 

Thus the Art-baby, nursed as the Vernon collec- 
tion in the restricted space of Marlborough House, 
ultimately found plenty of room at South Kensing- 
ton to develop into an artistic giant 


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Marlborough House. 259 



One of the most interesting occupants of Marl- 
borough House, was Leopold George Christian 
Frederick, third and youngest son of the Duke of 
Saxe-Coburg Saalfeld, brother of the Duchess of 
Kent, and therefore uncle both of Her Majesty the 
Queen and of H. R. H. the late Prince Consort. 

Naturalized as an English subject, created Duke 
of Kendal, and united to the ill-fated heiress of the 
British Crown, to whom he was tenderly attached^ 
the association of Prince Leopold with England 
cannot fail to be of a peculiarly close and touching 
nature, while the 'success of his after career as head 
of the Belgian nation, and his position as beloved 
and confidential adviser of our Sovereign and Prince 
Albert, will always entitle his memory to be held in 
the highest respect by the nation at large. At the 
outset of his military career, owing to the marriage 
of his sister to the Grand Duke Constantine, he 
speedily attained to the rank of General in the army 
of the Emperor Alexander of Russia, and was 
present when that monarch held his memorable 
interview with the great Napoleon at Erfurt. Then 
came Llitzen, Bautzen, and Leipsic, at all of which 
battles he greatly distinguished himself; especially 



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26o Marlborough House. 

at the latter, when, during the four days of severe 
fighting, he performed prodigies of valour. He 
entered Paris with the allied monarchs on the 31st 
March, 18 14, and also accompanied them to Eng- 
land in the following June, when London was 
crowded with historic personages, and fete succeeded 
ikxjt in rapid -succession on a scale of unprecedented 

It was during these festivities that the youthful 
Prince met for the first time the Princess Charlotte, 
then a bright and charming girl of eighteen, who 
had already received a good deal of attention from 
many eligible suitors, but had evinced no striking 
partiality for any of them. Prince Leopold had little 
indeed to recommend him in the way of fortune, for 
although on the staff of the Czar, his income pro- 
bably did not at that time exceed ;^400 per annum, 
and he lodged at a modest establishment in High 
Street, Marylebone, it being not until much later 
that he removed to the more aristocratic Stratford 
Place. He possessed, however, qualifications of a 
very high order, and his manly, handsome per- 
sonality left nothing to be desired. In both parents 
he was singularly fortunate. His father was cul- 
tured, intelligent, and of great political sagacity ; 
his mother, a combination of strength of character,"*' 
refinement of taste, ■ and rare elfe;vation of mind. 
Thus it was hardly surprising that raeir offspring 
should distinguish himself — ^as Leopold eventually 
did — amongst all the Princes of Europe, by his 


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Marlborough House. 261 

varied accomplishments and attainments in art, 
literature, and science. 

The young Princess was not slow to discern the 
sterling worth of such an admirer, and with charac- 
teristic independence of character, she no doubt 
secretly made up her mind that upon him would she 
bestow her hand and exalted fortune, or upon none. 
A strong and mutual attachment sprung up between 
them, and ultimately, in 18 16, the Prince was invited 
to England by the Foreign Secretary, Lord Castle- 
reagh, as a possible suitor of the Heiress Apparent 
of Great Britain and Ireland. 

In the early part of the year, the Prince Regent, 
acting in the name and on behalf of the King, gave 
his consent to the marriage ; and in response to the 
gracious message announcing this fact, an Act of 
Parliament was passed, April nth, 18 16, granting 
ail annuity of ;^6o,ooo to the Princess during her 
lifetime, and — in the event of her pre-decease — the 
sum of ;^50,ooo per annum to her husband until 
his death. 

Thus, so far as income was concerned, an ample 
provision was made for the due maintenance of 
their dignified position. 

As regards their future residences in town and 
country, nothing was definitely settled before the 
wedding. But amongst the London mansions sug- 
gested was Camelford House — now the residence of 
Lqrd Hillingdon — at the corner of Oxford Street 
and Park Lane, then, of course, a much more retired 


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262 Marlborough House. 

spot than at present. It was frequently inspected 
by the happy young couple, who eventually pro- 
nounced it to be incommodious and inconvenient, 
and decided against it. 

It is said that negotiations were also begun with 
the Duke of Marlborough, with a view of renting 
his historic house in Pall Mall, but his Grace 
asked ;^4,ooo a year, which was considered excessive 
— and, for the time, all expectation of residing there 
was relinquished. 

After their wedding, the estate of Claremont was 
purchased for them, under an agreement dated 
June 15th, 1 816, entered into between the Com- 
missioners of Woods and Forests, and Charles 
Rose Ellis Esq., whereby the latter disposed to 
them of his freehold manors of Esher and Mil- 
bourne, together with the mansion called Claremont, 
and its furniture — in all, some 516 acres — for the 
consideration of ;^66,ooo. 

An Act for ratifying this purchase passed both 
Houses of Parliament on the ist of July following, 
and the estate was settled upon the Prince and 
Princess for their joint lives ; the survivor to 
possess the property during his or her lifetime, 
with reversion to the Crown. It was also provided 
that in the event of the Princess succeeding to the 
throne during the lifetime of Prince Leopold, the 
estate should immediately after her decease become 
part of the Land Revenues of the Crown ; and in 
the event of the Princess surviving the Prince, and 


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His Royal Highness Prince Leopold. 

After the oil pahititig hy H, Daive^ formerly at Ciare/noni, 
Faciuji fage 263. 

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Marlborough House* 263 

afterwards succeeding to the Crown, Claremont 
should upon her accession be similarly disposed of. 

A more auspicious day than Thursday, May 
2nd, 1 81 6, as regards weather, could hardly have 
been imagined. It was simply perfect. The sun 
shone brightly ; the trees in the parks were clothed 
in virginal apparel of tender green ; and the soft- 
ness in the air, hinting at coming summer, tempted 
multitudes of Londoners to assemble at a very 
early hour in the neighbourhood of Carlton House, 
where the marriage ceremony was to be performed 
in semi-privacy. 

Prince Leopold had been residing for the past 
three days with the genial and popular Duke of 
Clarence, and throughout the previous day — with 
the exception of two hours during which he drove 
out in his plain green chariot — he good-naturedly 
made his appearance on the balcony of the first 
floor three or four times an hour, from ten o'clock 
in the morning until five in the afternoon, thereby 
securing the good-will of the crowd beneath, who 
gave him a hearty welcome His easy, though 
modest, demeanour showed that he felt at home 
with his adopted countrymen. His manly appear- 
ance, intelligent and good-natured face, and simple, 
unaffected bearing, together with the plainness 
of his attire — blue coat, buff waistcoat, and grey 
pantaloons — mightily hit the public taste as being 
indicative of " all that was considered most respect- 
able in the English character." 


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264 Marlborough House. 

At ten o'clock, ten grey horses — the Princess's 
favourite colour — were paraded before the Prince, 
who expressed his unqualified approval of them, 
and they were sent on forthwith to Oatlands Park, 
the Duke of York's seat, where the honeymoon 
was to be spent. 

That evening, at 8 p.m., the Prince-Regent, in 
honour of the coming event, gave a grand dinner, 
whereat H. M. Queen Charlotte was present, 
having driven from Buckingham House with the 
bride and with her daughters, the Princesses 
Augusta, Elizabeth, and Mary; the Queen and 
Princess .Charlotte of Wales occupying the back 
seat. They arrived at Carlton House by the 
garden-entrance, and were very affectionately wel- 
comed by H. R. H. the Prince Regent. 

Late at night, the Queen and her daughters 
returned to Buckingham House, leaving the bride 
with her Royal father. We can easily picture the 
father's tender words of advice and blessing, and 
the daughter's half-regret, half-shy exultation at the 
thought of the new life of independence that would 
dawn upon her on the morrow ; and we can readily 
imagine that the parting must have been peculiarly 

On the eventful day following. Queen Charlotte 
and Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and 
Duchess of Orleans, and Prince Leopold, were, 
on their arrival at Carlton House, at once con- 
ducted to the Prince-Regent's private apartments, 


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Marlborough House. 265 

where they cordially greeted the bride. Her 
Majesty and all the female branches of the Royal 
Family then proceeded to the west ante-room, 
and thence into the great crimson saloon specially 
prepared for the occasion. Here, Her Majesty 
was led by the Prince-Regent to a chair of state, 
whereon she sat throughout the ceremony on the 
right of the temporary altar, which was covered 
with magnificent crimson velvet, the cushions and 
splendidly-bound prayer-books having been brought 
from the Chapel Royal, St. James' — whose sergeant 
was in attendance in his office as verger. Upon 
the altar also were the massive candlesticks arid 
other church plate from the military chapel at 
Whitehall, where at that period the Guards 
regularly worshipped. 

A procession — formed of all the great personages 
present — had been previously marshalled by the 
Lord Chamberlain, and ushered through the suite of 
state-rooms to the grand saloon. Lord Chancellor 
Eldon, the two Archbishops, most of the Bishops, 
and a long array of the nobility were present. 

When all was ready, and the prelates had taken 
their places at the altar, the Lord Chamberlain 
returned to the Princes private apartments — 
where the young couple had all this time been 
waiting — and conducted the bridegroom to the 
altar. He bore himself under the trying circum- 
stances with great aplomb, and was attired in 
full British military uniform, wearing the insignia 


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266 Marlborough House. 

of the new Hanoverian Order of the Guelphs, 
together with other emblems of knighthood from 
Saxony, Austria, Russia, the Netherlands, Prussia, 
Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and Denmark, He also 
wore a magnificent sword and belt mounted with 
diamonds and studded with various gems. Having 
performed this function of his high office with great 
success, the Lord Chamberlain, who seems to have 
had a very prominent part to play in the day's 
proceedings, went back to fetch the bride; this 
time accompanied by the gallant sailor Duke of 
Clarence, in his naval uniform as Admiral of the 

The glances of all present in the saloon turned 
towards the Princess Charlotte, "the star of the 
goodly company," as she entered, leaning on her 
bachelor - uncle's arm, accompanied by her five 
bridesmaids — the Lady Charlotte Cholmondeley, 
Lady Caroline Pratt, Lady Susan Ryder, the 
Honourable Miss Law, and Miss Manners, the 
Archbishop of Canterbury's daughter. Slowly 
they advanced to the altar, where the Prince 
Regent, dressed in full regimentals, and wearing 
all his orders — conspicuous being the Austrian 
Order of the Fleece in brilliants — greeted the 
bride, and gave her away. 

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the happy 
couple returned arm-in-arm, and received the hearty 
congratulations of all present, and shortly afterwards 
set off in a travelling-carriage to Oatlands Park. 


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Marlborough House. 267 

When they had left, the guests were magnificently 
entertained, and the health of bride and bridegroom 
was enthusiastically drunk. 

On the St. James' Park parade and at the Tower, 
the guns firing Royal salutes, announced to the 
expectant crowds that the marriage was un fait 
accofnpli. In the evening, all the Princess's trades- 
men in honour of the event illuminated their places 
of business with rows and festoons of lamps and the 
letters *' P. C." in blazing light. 

Finally, be it recorded, that the bride's wedding 
dress was designed by a Mrs. Triaud, of Bolton 
Street, London, a noted dressmaker in those days. 
It is described as being of " magnificent silver lama 
or net over a rich silver tissue slip with a superb 
border of silver lama, the embroidery at the bottom 
forming shells and bouquets ; above the border, 
an elegant fulness tastefully displayed in festoons 
of silver lama, and finished with a very brilliant 
rolio of lama. The body and sleeves to correspond, 
were trimmed with beautiful Brussels point lace. 
The mantle of rich silver tissue was lined with 
white satin, trimmed round with a superb silver 
lama border in shells corresponding with the 
dress, and festooned in front with diamonds. 
Head - dress, a wreath of rose-buds and leaves 
composed of brilliants. Her travelling-dress was 
of rich white rep silk, with flounces at bottom of 
Brussels point lace, with corresponding ruff and 


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268 Marlborough House. 

Her trousseau included a gown said to have cost 
800 guineas, "a very superb Brussels point lace 
dress," worn over a slip of rich white satin. 

The first anniversary of their wedding-day had 
come and gone, and the summer of 181 7 had 
imperceptibly merged into autumn. Their devo- 
tion to each other had become deeper than ever 
as the expectation strengthened of a new and 
tender bond that should link them, if possible, 
even more closely together, and ratify the nation's 
hope that the succession to the throne might be 
assured in the direct line. 

Favourable reports of the Princess's health 
continually arrived from Claremont ; and so little 
apprehension was felt, that Queen Charlotte 
towards the, end of October went down to Bath 
for rest and change of air as usual. 

On Monday, November 3rd., the Princess was 
taken ill, and the next day at 3 a.m., the Princess's 
medical attendant. Sir Richard Croft, informed 
Prince Leopold that the expected event in his 
domestic life was imminent. The following day, 
all was still going on well, save for a certain amount 
of delay ; and a bulletin to this effect was " with 
great propriety," as the papers said, issued to the 

At last, on the evening of November 5th at nine 
o'clock, a baby prince was brought into the world, 
still-born. The mother, however, was reported to 
be doing extremely well, and as she fell into what 


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Marlborough House. 269 

was considered a refreshing slumber, anxiety was 
for the moment banished, and the Prince, who 
from the first had watched by her bedside with 
unremitting attention, was persuaded to retire to 
an adjoining apartment and endeavour to take 
some repose, a matter of necessity with him, for he 
was completely exhausted. 

At midnight, when the Princess awoke, it was 
observed with the deepest concern by her 
attendants, that she experienced a difficulty in 
swallowing some gruel, and that she complained of 
feeling chilly, and of a sense of oppression in the 

Prince Leopold was immediately sent for, and 
instantly came to her bed-side. The three medical 
men present applied every possible remedy, but it 
was not long before it became too painfully evident 
to their practised intelligence that all hope must be 

At I a.m, violent spasms set in, succeeded by 
ominous exhaustion, which no restorative could over- 
come. All the time the sweet young Princess 
retained consciousness, and never once removed her 
tender eyes from her poor husband, who vainly 
endeavoured to conceal his own agony of grief. 
Frequently she extended her hand, which he clasped 
in speechless despair. 

Between one and two o'clock she grew rapidly 
worse. Restlessness, difficulty of breathing, and 
signs of fatal collapse supervened ; and just before 


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270 Marlborough House. 

the minute hand of the clock marked the half-hour 
after two a.m., she faintly whispered " Is there any 
danger ? " to which the doctors could only reply that 
it was essential H.R.H. should compose herself. 
She breathed one last gentle sigh, and passed away 
to the other and better life beyond. 

On receipt of the fatal intelligence, Lord Sid- 
mouth, the Home Secretary, without a moments 
delay, sent off a despatch to the Queen at Bath. 
The messenger arrived at her residence in Sydney 
Place at a quarter to six o'clock the same day, and 
found Her Majesty at dinner with the Princess 
Elizabeth, the Countess Dowager of Ilchester, 
General Taylor and others. 

As the despatch was addressed to the General, 
he was summoned from the dining-room, and read 
the messs^e with the deepest emotion, and decided 
that the news had better be broken to the Queen 
by some one else. Lady Ilchester, who was then 
sent for, undertook the painful task, and she and 
General Taylor both returned to the dining-room. 
On their entry, the Queen, conjecturing from their 
manner that something unusual had happened 
immediately changed colour, and with evident 
alarm, exclaimed " I know some fatal event has 
happened ! " 

When the full extent of the terrible calamity had 
been disclosed Her Majesty's agony was extreme. 
She covered her face, gave one convulsive sob, and 
retired to her private apartment, where her devoted 


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Marlborough House. 271 

daughter did all she could to mitigate her parent s 
distress and sorrow — of which, indeed, throughout 
her life she had experienced her full share. 

Mother of fifteen children, with many and 
peculiar causes for family anxiety and trouble, this 
last and crowning sorrow — recalling the early death, 
stv^n years before in the same month, of Princess 
Amelia, the afflicted Kings favourite daughter — 
completely broke up her health ; and on November 
17th, exactly a year afterwards, at the age of 
seventy-four, she followed her beloved grand- 
daughter to the grave. 

There is hardly a parallel in our time to the con- 
sternation which descended upon this country when 
the fact became known that the heiress to the 
Crown was dead, and that her infant had never 

In all historic cases where the heir-apparent had 
not survived — the Black Prince, Prince Arthur, 
Prince Henry of Wales, (1612,) etc. — the loss was a 
single loss. But the gap in the succession caused 
by the death of both parent and child, affected 
futurity in a much deeper and more important sense. 

So deeply was the Prince Regent afflicted, that 
it was deemed necessary to bleed him twice, besides 
cupping him ; after which drastic remedies he felt 
relieved bodily, but his mental suffering was as 
great as ever. In the midst of his own trouble, 
however, he, with characteristic thoughtfulness at 
once sent a special messenger to his son-in-law, 


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272 Marlborough House. 

urging him to stay at Carlton House while the 
melancholy preparations for the funeral were being 
made at Claremont. 

Prince Leopold's grief was terrible to witness. 
He seemed like one bereft of all comfort, and for 
the time was deaf to the partial consolation afforded 
by Christian faith in a bright hereafter. His health 
became alarmingly affected, and he had to be " let 
blood " and otherwise prescribed for. 

All that was mortal of the amiable Princess under- 
went the process of embalming, and on the nine- 
teenth of the November following, she was laid to 
rest in the Royal Tomb House, Windsor. The 
funeral took place at night, and it was remarked as 
a strange coincidence — as though Nature herself 
had joined in the universal signs of mourning — that 
although it had been a very fine moonlight evening, 
the sky became suddenly overcast, and unusual 
darkness set ; or so it seemed to the thousands of 
spectators assembled in the Royal Borough to see 
the mournful procession pass by. 

By nine o'clock, in almost death-like silence, a sad 
congregation had assembled in St. George's chapel 
around the beloved form, borne thither by torchlight 
on the shoulders of six Life Guards, and followed 
by the agonized husband as chief mourner. The 
sublime service of the Church of England fell upon 
the dulled senses of Prince Leopold, who, utterly 
absorbed in grief, never once raised his eyes. But 
at that supreme moment when the coffin, containing 


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Marlborough House. 273 

all that was once his greatest happiness, was slowly 
lowered by a windlass into the dark vault below, 
his self-possession and powers of endurance almost 
failed him, and he became so distressingly affected 
that the Royal Dukes of York and Clarence, who 
affectionately supported him, became fearful lest he 
would sink beneath the burden of his terrible 

All was over by ten o'clock, and, oppressed by a 
sorrow that nothing could mitigate or divert, the 
Royal family, together with the numerous spectators 
of the melancholy scene, slowly dispersed to their 
respective homes. 

Not only in the metropolis, but throughout the 
kingdom, the effect produced was indescribable, 
culminating on the day of the funeral. For fourteen 
days, the public journals had been edged with deep 
borders of black, and teemed with advertisements 
relating almost exclusively to the general mourning, 
the signs of which were absolutely universal ; and 
it was remarked that the poorest of the poor 
managed somehow to become possessed of pieces of 
crape, or scraps of other black material, wherewith 
to testify their sympathy and respect. 

Coimting-houses and shops were everywhere 
. closed, and even the coffee-houses and licensed 
victuallers put up their shutters! Business was 
entirely suspended at the Government offices, the 
docks — where every flag was half-mast-high — ^and 
elsewhere. Little groups and knots of people were 



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274 Marlborough House. 

seen in every direction discussing the latest details 
with tearful and eager interest. It seemed as if 
some great and terrible blow had fallen from on high 
over the entire land — as indeed it had. Throughout 
the dismal day, the blinds of all private dwellings 
were closely drawn down ; the guns in Park and 
Tower, and bells high hung in tower and steeple, so 
pathetically associated with the joyfulness of a brief 
year and a half before, minute by minute boomed 
forth a solemn requiem, or chilled all hearts with 
their mournful and significant tolling. Such uni- 
versal grief had not been witnessed since the news 
of Nelson's death had arrived in England by the 
schooner Pickle on November 5th, 1805, ^^ Spit- 
head, announced in the Gazette on the following day 

Twice only during the Victorian era, has the 
nation so universally mourned : thirty-five years 
ago for a Royal Consort full of honours — but alas ! 
not of years — and again for an eldest son, like 
Milton's Lycidas, " dead ere his prime." 

Though more than three-quarters of a century 
has elapsed, so familiar to us is the story of poor 
Princess Charlotte, her marriage with Prince 
Leopold, the birth of her child, and her own 
untimely death, that, as we gaze at Wyatt s famous 
cenotaph in the nave of St. George's Chapel, touch- 
ingly representing the Princess's apotheosis, and 
the fine statue of her husband, appropriately 
placed close by, we feel linked in a peculiar and 
personal manner with the times in which they lived ; 


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Marlborough Hotise.. 275 

and the " one touch of nature " which *' makes the 
whole world kin " enhances our sympathy with the 
Queen's beloved and trusted '* Uncle Leopold," 
deepening our regret for the sad experience of his 
early days in this, the country of his adoption. 

Upon Prince Leopold this bereavement fell with 
overwhelming force, and, for the time, he retired 
absolutely from society of any kind, and lived in the 
strictest seclusion at Claremont, the scene of his 
greatest happiness. He paid off all the workmen 
who had been employed in effecting the various 
alterations and improvements in which the Princess 
had taken much interest. 

Gradually, like one who had been stunned, the 
Prince recovered consciousness of the fact that 
his own life had to be lived out to its allotted space, 
and that duties, however distasteful, had to be faced ; 
but it was several years before he felt equal to the 
excitement of a London season. During his retirer 
ment at Claremont, he endeavoured to divert his 
mind from incessantly brooding upon the past, by 
making a journey to Scotland, where he visited Sir 
Walter Scott — then at the height of his fame — at 
Abbotsford, whe describes him in a private letter as 
*' melancholy, yet evincing a capacity for humour," 
and he goes on to say that the Prince, once alluding 
to the crowds that followed him everywhere, men- 
tioned some place where he had gone out to shoot, 
but, said he, ** I was afraid to proceed for fear of 
bagging a boy." 



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276 Marlborough House. 

During the year succeeding Prince Leopold's 
marriage, and before anything had been decided 
about a residence, attention was freely drawn by 
the newspapers to Marlborough House as a par- 
ticularly suitable abode for the "heiress of the 
British throne." But as we have seen, the 
negotiations for the rental of it fell through for the 
time being. However, in 1824, the fourth Duke of 
Marlborough sub-let Marlborough House to Prince 
Leopold, and he lived there when in town until he 
became King of the Belgians in 1831. 

Prince Leopold's Comptroller of the Household 
was Sir Robert Gardiner, who had been selected 
for that position after his return from Waterloo and 
Paris, and whose son General H. Lynedoch 
Gardiner, Her Majesty's Groom-in-Waiting in 
Ordinary, has kindly given me some very in- 
teresting facts connected with Prince Leopold's 
occupancy of Marlborough House. 

Naturally of a sociable disposition, Prince 
Leopold, on his return to London society, soon 
began to assume the r6le of entertainer, for which 
he was eminently qualified, and invitations to his 
dinner-parties were eagerly welcomed and appre- 
ciated. They were very elegantly served, with a 
refinement of taste by no means universal in those 
days. The marvellous floral decorations we are 
accustomed to were then unknown, while heavi- 
ness was the feature of the cuisine even in the 
best houses, in spite of the efforts made by such 


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Marlborough House. 277 

bonoivants and connoisseurs as the Earl of Dudley 
and Ward, and the Earl of Wilton (the latter of 
whom had the best cuisine in London) to popularize 
"foreign kickshaws." 

Lady Louisa Tighe, now in her ninety-third 
year, exemplifying the well-known fact that very 
aged people recollect events which have happened 
at the beginning of their career very much better 
than the occurrences of yesterday, distinctly re- 
members dining at Marlborough House in March, 
1825, with her mother, the Dowager Duchess of 
Richmond, when Prince Leopold congratulated her 
heartily on her approaching marriage with Mr. 
Tighe, of Woodstock, Inistioge, Ireland, and added 
with great affability and feeling, ** I hope you will 
be very happy." This good wish was most amply 
fulfilled, as the lady throughout her married life 
considered herself the happiest woman in existence. 
Lady Tighe vividly remembers that the plate used 
at the dinner was extremely handsome. 

It was also the custom of Prince Leopold to give 
concerts at which the leading operatic singers of the 
day took part — Sontag, Pasta, Curioni, Donzelli, 
and a host of others. These delightful entertain- 
ments were given in what was then the hall, but 
is now the saloon ; and no apartment could have 
been more suitable for the purpose. It was con- 
sidered a great privilege to be a guest at 
Marlborough House during Prince Leopold's 
genial reign, and the delivery of the magic cards 


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278 Marlborough House. 

commencing ** Sir Robert Gardiner is commanded 
by H. R. H. Prince Leopold to invite, etc," always 
caused quite a flutter of excitement at their 
aristocratic destination. 

Greece having obtained her independence after 
the battle of Navarino, and the three powers — 
Russia, France and England — deciding that the 
classic little country should be made into a separate 
kingdom, the crown was offered to, but declined by. 
Prince John of Saxony. Prince Leopold was 
approached on the same subject in the year 1830, 
and after many consultations — amongst others, with 
the Earl of Aberdeen — ^and much consideration, 
the Prince provisionally accepted the throne 
offered to him, but eventually relinquished it, his 
announcement of this fact being dated from Marl- 
borough House. 

His London residence was destined soon after- 
wards to be the scene of still more important 
historical negotiations, as Belgium, emerging from 
the trouble and confusion entailed by her final 
separation from Holland, sent over to England 
certain deputies empowered by the provisional 
government to sound Prince Leopold as to the 
probability of his accepting the crown of Belgium. 
They met with a very courteous reception from the 
Prince at Marlborough House, and received a 
diplomatic and carefully-thought-out reply to their 

On the fourth of June, after some formidable 


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Marlborough House. 279 

riots had taken place at Liege, Antwerp, and 
Brussels, the National Congress, at the conclusion 
of a prolonged debate, elected Prince Leopold to 
be their hereditary monarch, by an overwhelming 
majority. Directly the result was known, Mr, 
White, Lord Ponsonby*s secretary, set off from 
Brussels with the news, and reached London only 
to find that the Prince had gone down to Clare- 
mont. Following him thither, he communicated his 
highly-important intelligence to the King-elect, who 
received it with much gratification. On the 
twenty-sixth, preliminary agreements relating to 
the acceptation of the exalted position were signed 
at Marlborough House, and at nine o'clock in the 
evening of the same day, a deputation from the 
Belgian Congress presented the National decree 
calling upon Prince Leopold to become King of the 

As newly-elected King, the Prince, on the 12th 
July following, received the representatives of the 
five great European Powers, who came to offer 
their formal congratulations, to which he replied 
in very suitable terms, and on the i6th he finally 
left London, entering Brussels in Royal State on 
the 2 1 St. 

Thus closed this amiable Princes residential 
connection with our country, extending over a 
period of fifteen years. But until his death in 
December 1865, he frequently came to England, 
and on one occasion, after the decease of the 


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28o Marlborough House. 

Duchess of Kent, he spent five weeks with Her 
Majesty the Queen, to whom he was able to afford 
very special comfort and consolation. 

With a noble appreciation of the fitness of things 
the Prince, on becoming King of the Belgians, 
placed his income of ;^50,ooo per annum in the 
hands of Trustees, and directed them to keep up 
Claremont in the same manner as during his 
occupancy of it, and after providing for the 
salaries of the officials, Sir Robert Gardiner and 
Sir Edward Cust, and the wages of the servants, 
to pay the balance into the National Exchequer, 
as he did not consider it right that a foreign 
sovereign should spend English money abroad. 

Claremont, the King placed at the disposal of 
Queen Victoria whenever she felt inclined to make 
use of it ; and she was in the habit of spending 
her birthday there in perfect retirement with the 
Prince Consort until the Revolution of 1848 drove 
the Orleans family from the Throne of France, to 
find a refuge and a home for many years in this 
quiet country-seat of lovely Surrey. 

Sir Robert Gardiner, as Comptroller to Prince 
Leopold, used to occupy " Little " Marlborough 
House, as it was called, which stood against 
the north wall of the German Chapel, and 
extended halfway up the entrance roadway to- 
wards Pall Mall, leaving just room for carriages 
to pass to and from the gates. General Gardiner 
says that he well remembers long before the South 


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Marlborough House. 281 

Western Railway was made, coming up to Marl- 
borough House from the *' Bear Inn" at Esher in 
his father s carriage with grey post horses, and 
himself and his brother being always turned out to 
play in the grounds where the Prince of Wales 
garden-parties are now given. 

Well, may the present ruler of Belgium, during 
his pleasant and unostentatious visits to England, 
associate Marlborough House with his Royal father, 
upon whom, as King, no higher eulogium could be 
bestowed than that which at his death was trans- 
mitted by telegram from the Emperor Napoleon 
in. : — **The Empress and myself sympathise most 
deeply in the affliction that has befallen you. Your 
august father always displayed great affection 
towards me, and I always entertained for him the 
same feeling. King Leopold was renowned for 
his great intelligence and wisdom. He was one 
of the most justly revered monarchs of Europe. I 
hope that on the throne you will follow the great 
example bequeathed by your illustrious predecessor. 
On every occasion, I shall be happy to give you 
proof of the affection I feel for you." 


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282 Marlborough House. 



One of the first matters that engaged King 
William's attention on his accession to the throne, 
was that of settling by Act of Parliament upon his 
Royal Consort, an annuity of ;^ 100,000 in the event 
of his predecease, with the delightful provision which . 
all rate-payers will appreciate, that every part of it 
should be " free and clear from all taxes, impositions, 
and other public charges whatsoever." In addition 
to this it was enacted, in case she should survive the 
King, and also for her better accommodation, that 
Marlborough House should under the Great Seal 
be given and assured to her for her sole enjoyment 
and benefit during the term of her natural life. 

Not content even with this practical manifestation 
of his regard. King William appointed her as 
'* Keeper and Custodian of Bushey Park,'* at the 
same time bestowing upon her the office of 
*' Housekeeper and Custodian of the Honour of 
Hampton Court *' for life, and subsequently made 
her " Perpetual Ranger of St. James' Park." 

Apart from the King's attachment to her, there 
must have been something peculiarly trustworthy 
and attractive in the character and disposition of the 


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Marlborough House. 283 

Royal Consort, to merit so striking an example of 
the King's favour. 

After her demise, at Bentley Priory, in 1849, 
the great preacher, Frederick Robertson of Brighton, 
evidently in reference to her remarkably simple 
funeral, wrote to a friend : — 

*' Mr. A. told me some interesting things about 
the unaffected simplicity of the Queen Dowager and 
the deep religiousness of her character. Certainly 
it is a wonderful thing to remember how she steered 
through one of the most tangled portions of our 
history, giving no offence, dismissing all pomp, 
refusing to hold a court, and, by the simple power 
of spotless goodness, commanding an enthusiasm 
which has been rarely given to the most splendid 
achievements. I do not know that I have ever 
heard anything so real as her funeral directions 
since the account of the death of Arnold." 

The hand that penned this eulogium, and the 
eloquent tongue that from the pulpit subsequently 
dilated upon the ** Good Queen's " virtues, are 
still in death. But the following verbatim and in- 
teresting summary of Queen Adelaide's character 
comes to me from a lady still living, who, through 
her connection with the Court, had unusual facilities 
for forming a correct judgment. 

She says that "when Queen Adelaide became^ a 
widow, her life was retired and mostly spent at 
Bushey Park or Marlborough House. Her time 
was occupied with acts of kindness to all who came 


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284 Marlborough House. 

within her reach. She was not beautiful, but very- 
graceful, and her large grey eyes were full of expres- 
sion, and could look either very stern or very tender. 
The motive power of her character was a deep 
sense of duty, down to the minutest details, and it 
was through her example and influence that many- 
adopted the practice of family prayers before break- 
fast. The service was performed by her domestic 
chaplain, the Rev. John Ryle Wood, afterwards 
Canon of Worcester Cathedral. Her generosity- 
was great, and was manifested in the most delicate 
manner. Her patience and anxiety to save trouble 
to others was shown in many ways. She spent the 
tenth of her income regularly in charity or in for- 
warding any work for God. No one who knew her 
could fail to be raised in the tone and conduct of 
their conversation. Her judgment was so much to 
be relied on that it was sought by many. She 
lessened the work of the cooks on Sunday, and 
refused to go a Ball given in her honour in Ger- 
many, on that day which she always observed with 
reverence. She died beloved by all who knew her 
good and simple life." 

By the death of Princess Charlotte, the succession 
to the British throne was placed in a state of con- 
siderable uncertainty, and it was no wonder that 
steps were quickly taken to remove, so far as 
human foresight could prevail, the unsatisfactory 
state of things that existed. 

Two of the Royal Dukes — Cambridge and Kent 


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Her Majesty Queen Adelaide. 

AJter the oil painting by H, Dawe, 

Facing page 284. 


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Marlborough House, 285 

— were married in Germany during the month of 
May, 1 81 8. As regards the Duke of Clarence, 
the sagacious Queen Charlotte had some time 
previously, with motherly foresight, selected his 
future wife in the person of Adelaide Louisa, 
eldest child of George, ruler of the independent 
little kingdom of Saxe-Meiningen, a duchy com- 
prising not more than 1,000 square miles — at the pre- 
sent moment absorbed with its quarter of a million 
of inhabitants in the mighty German Empire. 

This Duke George, whose wife was Princess 
Louisa of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, was gifted in a 
marked degree mentally and morally. During the 
revolutionary wars he had fought like a hero, and 
when peace was assured within his own borders he 
offered a refuge to men of letters and politicians 
who had been driven into exile from the sur- 
rounding States. He loved to gather round him 
scholars, artists, poets and philosophers, and 
amongst those with whom he mixed in unrestricted 
social intercourse, were Schiller and Jean Paul 
Richter. Unlike his predecessors, who were 
given to formality, ceremony, and the strict obser- 
vance of etiquette, Duke George condescended to 
visit the burgher families in his duchy, and went so 
far in his levelling ideas as to cause his own mother 
to be interred in the common church-yard. '* She 
was worthy," he said, '* of lying among her own 
subjects," most of whom were simple country folk, 
at whose rustic festivals the Duke would willingly 


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286 Marlborough House. 

partake of the creamy beer that on such occasions 
they r^aled themselves with. 

Besides Princess Adelaide, Duke George had 
another daughter, Ida, interesting to us because 
she ultimately married, and became mother of our 
popular and well-known Prince Edward of Saxe- 

George III/s wise consort, could have made no 
better selection for her middle-aged sailor son than 
that of a Princess possessing all the virtues com- 
bined with an unusual wealth of common sense. 

Surmounting many obstacles, chiefly of a 
pecuniary nature — which at the time seemed to 
threaten failure — the preliminaries of this marriage 
were at last arranged ; and one July evening in 
1818 as darkness was setting in, the Duchess of 
Saxe-Meiningen with her daughter Adelaide, then 
aged twenty-six, drove up to Grillon's Hotel in 
Albemarle Street. But by some mistake — ^probably 
because they arrived earlier than was expected, or 
from some other miscalculation of time — there was 
no one present to accord them the welcome 
naturally looked for under such circumstances. 
The Prince Regent was dining at Carlton House, 
and the Duke of Clarence was out visiting. 

After the Duchess and her daughter had dined, 
and somewhat recovered from the fatigue of 
travelling, the Prince Regent having been apprised 
of their arrival, quickly came to pay his respects. 
Later on, the bridegroom elect drove up in a carriage 


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Marlborottgh House. 287 

drawn by four horses ; mutual acquaintance speedily 
ripened, and with much informal hilarity, the visit 
was prolonged well into the small hours of the 

On the eleventh of the same month they were 
quietly married at Kew Palace, the Prince Regent 
giving the bride away. At the same time, and in 
the same place, the Duke and Duchess of Kent — 
who had been united onthe 29th of May at Coburg, 
according to the rites of the Lutheran Church 
— were re-married in accordance with the Church 
of England ritual. 

After the ceremony, the Duke and Duchess of 
Kent took their departure, but the bride and bride- 
groom remained, and took part in a very lively al 
fresco tea-party, held in the well-known grounds 
near the Pagoda. They afterwards drove away to 
St. James* Palace, the Prince Regent with good 
spirit leading the hearty cheering that proclaimed 
their happy " send-off." 

After a brief residence at the Palace, and after- 
wards at Bushey Park, they went to Hanover, 
where a daughter was bom, who survived but a 
few hours. In December, 1820, another Princess 
was brought into the world, but, to the great sorrow 
and disappointment of the parents, the little one 
lived only until the following March. Chantrey, 
with exquisite skill, reproduced in marble the form 
of this lost child, which has its place to this day in 
the famous corridor at Windsor Castle. 


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288 Marlborough House. 

Returning to England, they had apartments allotted 
to them in St. James' Palace, where they were any* 
thing but comfortable, the rooms being small and very 
inconvenient. They also lived at Clarence House. 

When the intelligence was conveyed to the 
Duchess that by the death of George IV. she had 
become Queen of England, she burst into tears, 
and bestowed upon the bearer of the tidings, a 
prayer-book she held in her hand. It seemed to 
her an appropriate gift ; but probably a less 
spiritual largesse would have been more appre- 
ciated by the recipient of the new Queen's favour. 

Amongst the members of the new Royal House- 
hold, were the present Earl Howe's father, who 
was appointed Lord Chamberlain, and remained 
in office for some years — to whom Queen Adelaide 
was so devoted, that when political differences with 
the Government compelled him to resign, the 
Queen steadfastly refused to have anyone nomi- 
nated in his place — and Earl Denbigh, Master of 
the Horse, also a great favourite, and grandfather 
of the present EarL The daughters of both these 
Peers were frequently at Queen Adelaide's Court. 

On sharing the throne with William IV. Queen 
Adelaide's mode of life does not seem to have much 
changed. It was simply that the sphere of her 
good actions became greater. She was cheerful 
and hopeful as ever ; her evenings were spent very 
quietly, generally given up to tapestry-work, in 
which she was an adept. Certainly, the Court 


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Marlborough House. 289 

could not be said to possess much grandeur. It 
was essentially homely, as were the habits of the 
Royal couple, whom nothing pleased better than 
to look on at some thousands of the poor being 
feasted in Windsor Park, or to do some quiet 
shopping at Brighton, where the Queen once 
picked up a reticule dropped by an infirm old lady, 
a kindly action made much of at the time, and 
doubtless never forgotten by the bystanders. 

It is said that King William and his Consort 
paid more private visits to people of all ranks than 
any Sovereign before them, and this is probably 
true. As Duchess of Clarence, the Queen when 
at Chatham, had usually been entertained by Com- 
missioner Cunningham's daughters on terms of 
perfect freedom and unrestraint. On her accession, 
the young ladies were invited to Bushey, and at 
their first meeting they naturally bent down to kiss 
the Queen's hand. " No, no," said Her Majesty, 
" that is not the way I receive my friends. I am 
not changed." And so it was always ; whenever 
she met with old acquaintances, they were greeted 
affectionately, kissed, and treated without the least 
appearance of affectation. 

The year following the King and Queen's 
accession, Princess Victoria appeared for the first 
time in the Royal circle, the occasion being that of 
a Drawing-room held on February 24th, 1831, in 
honour of Queen Adelaide's birthday. Standing 
on the left of her aunt, the youthful Princess — then 



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290 Marlborough House. 

in her twelfth year — dressed in white satin, and 
wearing a pearl necklace, with her fair hair held 
back by a diamond clasp, was the observed of all 
that brilliant throng. 

Towards the year 1837 the King's health had 
begun to fail, and in the month of June, it became 
evident that he had not long to live. Queen 
Adelaide nursed him unceasingly. On the eve of 
his death as Archbishop Howley, having concluded 
the solemn service for the sick and dying, pro- 
nounced the benediction, the old monarch turned 
his eyes upon his sorrowing wife, and with the 
characteristic heartiness of his former profession, 
and in a voice as cheerful as his failing streng^ 
would permit, bade her "bear up, cheer up." 
Until all was over, the Queen remained by his 
bedside ; then, laying his unconscious head, which 
she had been tenderly supporting, upon the pillow, 
she withdrew from the room. 

She was present throughout the ceremony of 
the King's obsequies at Windsor, being the only 
Queen of England who had ever actually witnessed 
her Kingly Consort laid in the tomb. In the 
following month, she left the castle for Bushey while 
Marlborough House was being got ready for her ; 
but as there had been nothing done to it in the 
way of substantial repairs for many years, consider- 
able delay was involved. 

In the year 1836, a sum of ;^3,700 was voted — 
on the general estimates for Royal palaces and 


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Marlborough House. 291 

public buildings — to be spent in repairs ; in addition 
to ;^ 1, 7 28 received from the Duke of Marlborough. 
The next year, ;^4,ooo more were provided ; and, 
later on in the same year, an additional sum of 
;^2 1,000 was voted upon a separate estimate for 
preparing the house for its occupation by the 
Queen Dowager, who came up from Bushey to see 
what was necessary in the way of alterations and 
repairs, Lady Clinton being in attendance upon 
her, and amongst her suite, Earl Howe, Earl 
Denbigh, Sir B. Stephenson, Lady Bedingfield, 
Miss Hudson, and the Rev. J. Wood. As it was 
her first visit to the Dower House, the Marquis of 
Gonyngham was present in his official capacity as 
Queen Victoria's Lord Chamberlain. 

In forming the new establishment at Marl- 
borough House, the Countess of Brownlow and 
Lady Barrington were included as Ladies of the 
Household, and the minor offices were filled up 
from the old servants at Windsor Castle, most of 
whom had been discharged with pensions on the 
accession of Queen Victoria. Out of twelve foot- 
men thus selected, eight were placed at Marlborough 
House, and the organizing of the household 

But it was not until March the following year 
that the Court Journal vi^s able to inform the world 
that the Queen-Dowager had arrived in Town from 
St. Leonards, where she had passed the winter, 
and had taken up her residence at Marlborough 



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292 Marlborough Howe. 

House; also that the Duchess of Cambridge and 
other members of the Royal family had visited her, 
and that the apartments had been fitted up with 
"great elegance," but the workmen were not yet 
out of the house. 

On April 7th, 1838, Queen Victoria paid a visit 
to her widowed aunt for the first time at Marl- 
borough House, though they had frequently met at 
Windsor and Bushey. During the season, Queen 
Adelaide gave several small and very select dinner- 

On Her Majesty the Queen's memorable Corona- 
tion-day, the Queen- Dowager was in residence at 
Marlborough House, and at 9 a,m., she drove 
along the line of route to be taken by the proces- 
sion, in order to view the preparations for the 
approaching ceremony — a remarkable instance of 
the good-feeling existing between the two exalted 
ladies, and the entire absence of jealousy on the 
part of the elder. Queen Adelaide was loudly 
cheered by the crowds already at that early hour 
assembled. A covered balcony was erected at 
Marlborough House, and placed at the disposal of 
a number of ladies and gentlemen connected with 
the household. 

One of the first special entertainments given by 
Queen Adelaide in London was that on the 8th of 
June, 1839, when her brother-in-law, the Grand 
Duke of Saxe- Weimar, was the chief guest ; Count 
de Beust, M. de Wyner, Earl and Countess of 


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Marlborough House. 293 

Mayo, Earl Howe, and Viscount Curzon, amongst 
others being present. 

But the Marlborough House festivities of that 
year, culminated on the twenty-ninth of the same 
month, when Queen Victoria dined there, attended 
by a large suite — the Countess of Burlington 
(Lady-in-waiting), the Earl of Uxbridge (Lord 
Chamberlain), the Earl of Albemarle (Master of 
the Horse), Lord Gardner, the Hon. Colonel 
Cavendish, and the Hon. W. Cowper. The 
Queen's half-sister, the Princess of Leiningen, 
accompanied her on this occasion, and the guests 
invited to meet Her Majesty included the Duchess 
of Gloucester, the Duke of Sussex, the Duke and 
Duchess of Cambridge, and Princess Augusta, the 
Princesses of Hohenlohe and Prince Edward of 
Saxe- Weimar. After dinner, there was a small 
party. Her Royal Highness Princess Sophia 
Matilda, and the ladies and gentlemen of the 
different Royal households, joining the circle. 

On the occasion of Queen Victoria's marriage the 
following year, another grand dinner was given by 
the Dowager-Queen, in honour of the joyful event, 
when several members of the Royal Family and 
many dignitaries were present. 

Queen Adelaide s entertainments at Marlborough 
House were proverbial for their completeness and 
comfort, and Lord Brougham, during the debate in 
the House of Lords in 1850 upon the bill for 
securing Marlborough House to the Prince of 


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294 Marlborough House. 

Wales, recorded his experience of the late Queen- 
Dowager's kind hospitality of which he had so often 
been the recipient. 

Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar says that in 
those days the interior arrangements of Marl- 
borough House were very different from what they 
are now, and were probably identical, or nearly so, 
with those of the Duchess Sarah's time. Before 
me is a very interesting '* Plan de rH6tel de 
Marlborough ^ Londres," published in Paris in the 
eighteenth century, and in it the principal rooms on 
the ground floor are placed much as they were in 
1 837- 1 849. 

The present large drawing-room was divided 
then into three separate apartments ; the dining- 
room was the drawing-room ; the present tapestry 
and painting- rooms combined, formed the dining- 
room ; spiral staircases communicated with the first 
floor in the south and south-west corners of the 
house; and in the same portion of the building, 
were small apartments, one of which, during his 
Royal aunt's time, was set apart for Prince 
Edward's use, ever a welcome visitor, and whose 
recollection, therefore, of Marlborough House in 
the past, is probably more extensive than that of 
any living person, except the Queen. 

Queen Adelaide's private sitting-room, or boudoir, 
was on the first floor, and identical with that used 
by the Princess of Wales, while her bedroom — now 
the reception-room, was next to it. The present 


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Marlborough House% 295 

household dining-room formed two rooms ; and the 
saloon, as we have before noticed, was the hall 
where the footmen sat, and where callers of no great 
social importance waited. A long covered passage 
reaching half-way down the quadrangle gave shelter 
to visitors as far as the front door, which was 
approached by steps as at present 

In the inner hall — the modern saloon — the Queen 
Dowager used to give delightful concerts at which 
Malibran, Miss Stephens, Braham and others 
charmed their hearers. Ballets also, says Prince 
Edward, were performed here with great success by 
Viennese dancers, who were especially patronized 
by the Court leaders of fashion. Referring to 
these relaxations, got up and arranged by the good 
Queen Dowager chiefly, we may be sure, with a 
view of giving pleasure to others, the lady referred 
to in the opening of this chapter says : " I remember 
several delightful evenings at Marlborough House. 
Onqe Madame Rachel recited in the drawing-room 
unaided by scenery or actors, which only displayed 
her genius the more ; but the exertion was so great 
that she fainted away. Another evening of rare 
enjoyment was on the occasion of a concert in the 
Hall of the House, when Jenny Lind and all the 
greatest artistes took part." 

The Queen Dowager, although a most devout 
woman, had no trace of rigid Puritanism in her dis- 
position, and liberally encouraged the musical and 
dramatic art of the day ; for Blanchard Jerrold in 


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296 • Marlborough House. 

his '* Life of George Cruikshank," mentions the fact 
that in 1837, a " Fairy Album," edited by L- E. L. 
was dedicated by special permission to Queen 
Adelaide. This periodical was of microscopic pro- 
portions ; even to read it at all, requiring the use of 
the magnifying glass which accompanied it. Bound 
in vellum and gold and enclosed in a blue velvet 
case, its pages were enriched with fairy music, and 
it was illustrated with tiny portraits of Pasta, Mali- 
bran, and other noted singers. 

In Messrs. Broadwood's books there is an entry 
recording that H.M. the Dowager Queen possessed 
a grand piano made by their firm. In the same 
ledger, appears a record that Her Majesty hired 
an upright piano on September J3th, 1836, which 
was dispatched to Portsmouth to be placed on board 
H.M.S. Hastings. In the following year, there is 
the interesting entry that a hired cottage-piano was 
returned from Marlborough House. 

Exceedingly simple were the Queen Dowagers 
tastes and habits, and she was very saving as 
regards her personal expenditure. Both King 
William and herself made it a rule never to exceed 
their income, the result being that at the year's end 
there was often a considerable surplus to devote to 
charitable purposes. 

The crown used for Queen Adelaide at her 
coronation was very diminutive. It was most 
brilliant, however, and was composed of her own 
jewels, in order to save expense. Indeed the 


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Marlborough House. 297 

entire ceremony curtailed as it was in many of its 
features, and minus the grand banquet at West- 
minster Hall was altogether on an economical 
scale, and cost certainly less than a fifth of the 
sum expended upon George IV's coronation. A 
curious incident occurred in connection with this 
toy-like crown. Queen Adelaide's hair was 
arranged in the prevailing fashion in a knot at 
the top of her head. The Archbishop duly placed 
the diadem in its proper place, but necessarily 
so insecurely that the slightest movement would 
have precipitated the emblem of Royalty upon 
the floor of the Abbey, which, in conjunction with 
the dropping of the sword of state by Earl Grey on 
the same occasion, would have been regarded as a 
double omen of dire significance. Her ladies in 
waiting, however, quickly perceived the precarious 
position of the crown, and by skilful manipulation 
secured it safely upon her head. At the moment 
that the Primate crowned Queen Adelaide, a bright 
sunbeam darted through the windows, and fell full 
upon her diadem of jewels, lighting it up with 
wonderful effect. 

This charming incident must have been recalled 
by the eye-witnesses years afterwards when they 
reverently listened to the words of hope with which 
the remains of Adelaide the Good were consigned 
to the grave, and thought of that other and im- 
perishable crown she had won in the world above 
by the beauty and excellence of her life here below. 


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298 Marlborough House. 



Not long ago, a writer in the Saturday Review^ 
remarking upon the influence of climate on the 
formation of character, gave it as his opinion that 
in the West of England " all asperities of thought, 
all acute prepossessions, gradually translate them- 
selves into a vacuous indifference under the spell of 
the balmy atmosphere, and the voluptuous colours 
of the fertile hills. Devonshire is the grave of 
mental enthusiasms and physical angularities; its 
population absorb moisture and grows fat" 

Whether, if Fate had decreed for John Churchillt 
a continual residence within the boundaries of this 
lovely county, he too would have lost his indi- 
viduality, is a fit subject for one of those curious 
speculations that the elder Disraeli indulged in. 
Almost certainly the fate of many countries through- 
out Europe, and possibly that of our own land, 
would have been different had Winston and Eliza- 
beth Churchill's second son, born to them on the 
banks of quiet- flowing Axe, remained in his native 
district. True, that wherever his lot had been cast, 
John Churchill would have distinguished himself; 
but he might never have met with Sarah Jennings, 


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Marlborough House. 299 

the battle of Blenheim might never have been fought, 
and the mansion in Pall Mall, might never have 
been built. 

To do more in one short chapter than sketch in 
outline the life of England's greatest general, and 
that of his remarkable wife, is obviously imprac- 

Up to the age of twelve, young Churchill was 
tutored by the Rector of Musbury, the site of a 
Roman camp commanding the valley of the Axe, 
and it is easy to imagine the future conqueror of 
Tallard imbibing from the old associations of the 
neighbourhood his taste for a military career. 

Frequently must he have visited Lambert's 
Castle, some six miles to the east of Axminster, 
one of the pre-Roman hill fortresses abounding in 
the district — ^a strong entrenchment with triple 
mounds and ditches, covering an area of twelve 
acres, whence an unequalled view is obtained far 
and wide into Devon and Dorset. Doubtless, he 
wandered through the narrow lanes, and over the 
undulating hills leading seawards, and past the mill 
at Uplyme — since rendered famous by the author 
of " 'Twas in Trafalgar's Bay " — down a combe, 
musical with the tinkling of murmuring streams, in- 
exhaustible even in the droughtiest summers, and 
examined with rapt attention the head-quarters of 
Prince Maurice at Colway House, who in the year 
1644 essayed to bring about the submission of 
Puritan Lyme R^is, but had eventually to with- 


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300 Marlborough House. 

draw, leaving the bodies of two thousand of his Irish 
and Cornish troopers to fatten the orchards that 
abound on the banks of the winding and babbling 
Lyme. Charmouth too, the boy must have been 
familiar with, and the Cavalier side of his nature 
was doubtless stirred deep as he listened to the tale 
of the King's attempt to escape from England after 
the battle of Worcester in 1651, and how on that 
very beach the exiled monarch had paced hour after 
hour with Colonel Wyndham, vainly waiting until 
long after midnight for Captain EUesden to appear 
with his long boat, and convey him to Lyme Regis, 
and thence in his sloop to France. 

All this and more, the handsome, thoughtful lad 
must have pondered over, and returning home 
along the lofty Charmouth cliffs, may have watched 
with awe the uprising in the south-west of some 
great tempest, as masses of clouds piled themselves 
one upon another, dark and sullen, presently to 
burst with wrath and destruction upon the quiet 
bay beneath him. Little could he have imagined 
that a storm, the greatest ever known in this 
country, was to form the simile of certain immortal 
lines addressed to himself, the victor of Blenheim, 
and written by a most distinguished scholar and 
gentleman, named Addison. 

But all this delightful wandering about at his own 
sweet will and pleasure was soon to cease. Crossing 
the wide sea for the first time, he sojourned 
with his parents in Ireland, and regularly attended 


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Marlborough House. 301 

the City of Dublin Free School. Returning to 
England at the end of a year, he was sent to St. 
Paul's School, there to become one of the 153 boys 
— representing the mystical fishes of St. Peter — 
out of " every nation, country, and class," for whose 
permanent classical enlightenment, old Dean Colet 
had so liberally provided in the previous century. 
Young Churchill, however, was destined to go forth 
into the world insufficiently equipped — so we 
should regard it — with scholastic armour ; for the 
Great Plague broke out ; the school was temporarily 
closed, and with it, permanently, John Churchill's 

At the early age of seventeen, he commenced his 
military life by entering the Foot Guards, and 
joined the English garrison at Tangiers, that un- 
satisfactory item in Katherine of Braganza's dowry. 
Always conspicuous for courage, he fought his first 
duel on attaining the legal age of manhood, and 
under the great Turenne obtained his first ex- 
perience of Holland, a country he was fated to 
become very familiar with. He gained the favour 
of Louis XIV. — an autocrat in whose Court grace 
of manner, combined with a handsome presence, 
always won immediate attention. Singularly attrac- 
tive must have been Churchill's personal appearance, 
and his gentle demeanour and gracefulness of ex- 
pression captivating to all classes. A profusion of 
fair hair, long eye-lashes shading eyes of deepest 
blue, straight, well-moulded features, a tall, finely-pro- 


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302 Marlborough House. 

portioned figure and commanding bearing, enhanced 
by the picturesque dress of the period, combined to 
make the charming picture which we instantly re- 
cognize in existing portraits. 

On his return to England, his marked success at 
the French Court soon bore fruit, for though but 
twenty-four years of age, he was made Lieutenant- 
Colonel of a foot regiment. 

About this time, all unconscious of her destiny, a 
bright young girl, playmate of Princess Anne at St. 
James' Palace, was developing the qualifications of 
mind and body that would fit her to be the consort 
of the distinguished young officer. Needless to 
say, this was Sarah Jennings, who, at the age of 
sixteen, became engaged to John Churchill, and 
was married to him in the presence of Mary ot 
Modena, Duchess of York, whose maid of honour 
she was when but a child. A glorious couple they 
must have been; he in the maturity of manly 
beauty, ten years her senior, and she, radiant as 
some half-opened rose with youthful freshness and 

And now, the future Duke's career may be said 
to have commenced in earnest ;. for with a helpmate 
whose ruling passion was ambition, no chance was 
missed, no opportunity lost, in the race that ulti- 
mately led to power, fame, and fortune almost 
"beyond the dreams of avarice." To James II, 
John Churchill was indebted for his rapid advance 
in the army ; and during the opening years of that 


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The first Duke of Marlborough. 

From a miniature in the possession of I/is Grace the Duke of Marlborough. 

Facing Page 303. 

Note. — This intere«iiln!? portrait of his illustrious ancestor has been %*ery kindly selected for this 
work by His Grace the Duke of Marlborough from his collection ol miniatures at Bl'inheim Palace, 
'ihe figure to the right is probably that of James, the first Pretender. 


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Marlborough House. 303 

monarch's reign, he had, by his victory over 
Monmouth at Sedgemoor, fully vindicated the 
King's confidence in his talents. Then came his 
desertion of the last of the Stuarts, when William 
of Orange landed at Torbay, and the expedition to 
Ireland, which, though lasting but five weeks, 
resulted in his brilliant capture of Cork and 
Kinsale. In 1692, Churchill was summarily dis- 
missed by William III. from all his public offices, 
and commencing to intrigue for the restoration of 
James II., he was consigned to the Tower for some 
weeks, though on the false evidence of a man 
of infamous character. But the accession of 
Queen Anne brought with it substantial rewards to 
the Churchills for their faithful adherence to the 
once neglected Princess. His immediate creation 
as a Knight of the Garter, his appointment as 
Captain-General of the forces, a Dukedom, and a 
life pension of ;^5,ooo per annum were the preludes 
to honours that were to fall fast and thick upon him 
during the seven glorious years from 1 702 to 1 709 
when victory succeeded victory — Blenheim, Rami- 
lies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet. 

Whilst Marlborough was winning the last named 
battle with the allied army in Flanders, the Duchess 
was planning the building of the London mansion 
that should bear their name for all time, and be, as 
she fondly hoped, the head-quarters of her ambitious 
social campaign. 

" My precept,'* says Cicero, " to all who build is 


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304 Marlborough House. . 

that the owner should be an ornament to the house, 
and not the house to the owner." No doubt, this 
advice, with many a complimentary personal appli- 
cation of it, after the fashion of the day, had been 
repeated to the Duchess as soon as her intention of 
building a grand town house became known, and 
although, when completed, it was pronounced by 
society to be " one of the most perfect models in 
England," there can be little doubt that its 
greatest adornment was its originator and owner 

Although the Duchess was close upon fifty in 
1709, she was still a magnificent and fresh-looking 
woman. There was something queenly about her 
tall stateliness, akin to her disposition ; for as the 
historic Hume remarks, she might at one time have 
been regarded as de facto the sovereign of England. 
In the rich fullness of her lips, her pretty mouth, 
languorous eyes, and nose slightly retroussi, there 
was discernible an indication of latent coquetry, 
but her style of beauty, at even an earlier period 
of her life, was more calculated to inspire a senti- 
ment of respectful admiration than the tender 
feeling of love. 

The Marlborough family reached the zenith of 
their fame in 1709, when, in the natural order of 
things, their influence at Court began visibly to 
decline ; but their final dismissal by Queen Anne 
had to be postponed to a more fitting occasion. 

Meantime, from the correspondence of Lady 


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Facing page 304. 

The first Duchess of Marlborough. 

After Sir George KnelUr. 


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Marlborough House. 305 

Wentworth, we get some interesting glimpses of 
the part played by the Marlboroughs in the con- 
stantly shifting social drama, and the jealousy and 
envy to which they were necessarily subjected, 
partly no doubt because of their arrogance and 

Prince George of Denmark, the easy-going con- 
sort of Queen Anne, died on October 28th, 1708, 
and the Court went into deep mourning. At the 
expiration of six months, these outward signs of 
respect were partly abandoned by certain ladies, 
led on it was said by the Duchess of Marlborough's 
daughters, who had the bad taste to appear at 
the Chapel Royal before the Queen, dressed partly 
in colours, necessitating the interference of the 
Lord Chamberlain. But the Duchess herself had 
previously evinced her contemptuous disregard for 
etiquette and proper feeling by waiting upon the 
bereaved sovereign shortly after the death of her 
husband, with powder on her hair and a patch on 
her face ! 

All this seems paltry enough, but the downfall 
of Marlborough was as^ much due to the utter 
disregard of tact and self-restraint on the part of 
his wife, as to the machinations of his avowed 
enemies. Already, the tide had begun to ebb. In 
the following year. Lady Wentworth writing to her 
brother. Lord Raby, at Berlin, said : " The Duke 
of Marlborough by all that sees and hears of his 
successes, is pronounced a happy man, but I am 



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3o6 Marlborough House. 

told by a gentleman that saw a letter from him 
to a Parliament man, wherein he said he was vext 
to the soul at the usage he received from the House 
of Commons in a year when he had not only all 
the success cou'd be desired, but that he had 
laboured more than ever to serve his country." 

As Lord Wolseley says : — " It is a melancholy 
truth that success breeds envy and detraction. 
Marlborough's rivals, English and Dutch, thought 
to disparage his achievements by attributing them 
to good luck ; but, making every allowance for the 
envy and hostility of this class, it is a curious fact 
that courteous, affable, and pleasing as Marlborough 
was, he had no party, and few adherents at Court, 
or even in the army. A host of acquaintances, 
indeed, he had, but he was always too self-contained 
to have many intimate friends. In an age of 
jovial festivity, he was not convivial, and his tem- 
perate and simple habits were a standing reproach 
to the gambling and drinking men around him. 
His frugaiity had earned for him the reputation 
of penuriousness, and it was complained that he 
never entertained." 

The latter accusation was not altogether correct. 
In the autumn of 171 1, when Marlborough House 
was completed, it was stated in the fashionable 
world that the Duchess of Marlborough purposed 
during the coming winter, " to keep assemblies, and 
live after a most magnificent manner at her new 
house " ; and again, at the opening of the next year. 


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Marlborough House. y>J 

It was the talk of the town that the Duke of Marl- 
borough, on the Queen's birthday, "intended to 
make a ball that night at his house ; but when he 
found how it was took as a sort of vying with the 
Court, he left it alone.'* During the past summer, 
the Duchess had kept open house at her place near 
St. Albans, but although her entertainments were 
" very noble and fine," they failed in reviving her 
position in society. "If you had lived so, two or 
three years ago," the Duchess was bluntly told by 
one of her guests, " it might have signified some- 
thing, but now it would signify nothing." In fact, 
all the efforts of Duke and Duchess were too late. 
Even the levdes, held by the Duke, were com- 
parative failures. "His house is very fine," was 
Society's verdict, "but 'tis not filled so much 
with company as when he was in lodgings." 

In the midst of all the political intriguing and 
struggling to retain their lost power, we occasionally 
get a glimpse of the Marlborough habits, and of the 
softer side of their character, a mere glimpse, how- 
ever, for, as Lord Wolseley says, there is in 
existing authorities little to be found which bears 
upon Marlborough's domestic life. 

We hear of a great ball given by the Duke of 
Devonshire, at which the Duchess of Marlborough 
was present. The supper is described as " very 
handsome," but it would hardly have been up to 
our standard : — " At the upper end of the table cold 
chickens, next to that a dish of cake, parch'd 


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3o8 Marlborough House. 

almonds, biskets, next to that a dish of tarts and 
cheesecakes, next to that a great custard, and next 
to that another dish of biskets, parch'd aknonds 
and preserved apricocks, and next a quarter of 
lamb " (sic). 

In later years, too, when she resided at Wimble- 
don, there were pleasant and kindly interchanges of 
civilities between her and Pope, the poet sending 
her a present of pine-apples grown by himself, and 
receiving in return a fat buck, wherewith he r^aled 
his friends, when they, no doubt, toasted Her 
Grace. To the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, the 
Duchess was in the habit of sending venison, 
and used to receive the deputation from the City, 
who came to thank her for the gift, sitting up 
with stately dignity, after the custom of the day, in 

Although a thorough man of the world, with 
many failings, and hardened, one would think, by 
his dreadful trade of war, the Duke was very tender 
at heart, full of sympathy for the sorrows of others, 
an affectionate father, and a most devoted husband, 
as the secret drawer revealed to his wife after his 
death, where amongst his treasured possessions, she 
discovered her own beautiftil light, gold-coloured 
tresses that she herself had cut off in one of her fits 
of passion, to vex him. 

Mentally harassed, and in failing health, Marl- 
borough did not live long to enjoy the grandeur of 
his London house. Not on the battle-field, like 


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Marlborough House. 309 

many another warrior, nor by the hand of an 
assassin, nor even in the mansion that bore his 
name, was he destined to find his final rest The 
old war-eagle, listlessly moping in his eyry, secluded 
in the great forest at Windsor Park Lodge, died of 
paralysis, on June i6th, i722« 

The Duke had been partly paralysed for a long 
time, but on Monday, June nth, came the final 
stroke, and he was taken alarmingly ill. Two 
" expresses " were sent to London for physicians ; 
but on their arrival they could do nothing, and at 
four o'clock in the morning of June i6th, the great 
warrior breathed his last. 

Much delay arose before the funeral could take 
place, and meantime the body, duly embalmed, was 
brought up to Town, accompanied by a detachment 
of Horse Guards, arriving at Marlborough House 
at 3 a.m., where it lay in state on a trestle, hardly 
three feet from the ground, beneath a canopy in the 
largest of the lower rooms, which was hung all 
round with rich black velvet. 

They arranged matters curiously in those days, 
for we find that while the Duke's remains were 
yet above ground, his will was proved and probate 
granted ; the executors being the Duchess, the Earl 
of Godolphin, the Duke of Bridgwater, and others. 
A little before his death, the Duke had given in- 
structions that all his servants should receive two 
years' wages ; and out of respect, and we may 
assume out of gratitude also, they took it in turn 


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3IO • Marlborough House. 

to watch by the corpse day and night while it lay 
in state, relieving one another every four hours. 

At last all was in readiness. The four thou- 
sand silver memorial medals had been duly struck 
in the Tower, and on August 9th, a solemn pro- 
cession set forth for the Abbey from Marlborough 
House, Lord Cadogan as Commander-in-Chief 
bringing up the rear of an imposing military 
escort. The Duke of Montague, being chief 
mourner, was behind the open car which held 
the coffin, whereon was placed a complete 
suit of armour, together with a helmet lying be- 
tween two coronets ; one of them was the late 
Duke's imperial diadem as Prince of Mindelheim, 
in Suabia, and the other his ducal coronet. A long 
train of carriages belonging to the nobility and 
gentry followed, including those of the King and 
the Prince of Wales. 

At the service, an anthem by Signor Bononcini 
was sung, which had been rehearsed the day before ; 
and, finally, in Henry VHI.'s chapel, in a vault 
which had at one time contained the ashes of the 
Duke of . Ormond, and at another those of the 
usurper Cromwell, the Duke's were temporarily 
laid to rest. The pall, a magnificent and costly one, 
was stated to be, according to a very ancient 
custom, the perquisite of the Dean of Westminster. 
But a strange thing happened after the funeral — 
the pall disappeared! having been taken away 
by some person or persons unknown. 


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Marlborough House. 311 

The Duchess remained at Windsor until all was 
over, and then returned to town. An imposing 
hatchment was affixed to thti south side of Marl- 
borough House, and represented a coat-of-arms, 
the crest a spread eagle with a large crown above 
it, and the family motto Fiel pero desdtckadoy 
" Faithful but unfortunate." The expense of the 
costly lying-in-state and the funeral, was borne 
entirely by the proud old Duchess. 

Deprived of her husband, the Duchess lived on 
in semi-retirement, sometipies at Wimbledon where 
she possessed a mansion, occasionally at Windsor 
and Blenheim ; and, lastly, at Marlborough House, 
where she closed her eventful life on October i8th, 
1744, twenty-two years after the death of the Duke, 
having lived through four reigns and witnessed 
some of the most stirring events and changes in 
England's historv. She sleeps at Blenheim beneath 
the private chapel whither the great Duke s body 
had been transferred from Westminster just before 
her death ; and above them is the marvellous 
memorial by Rysbrach : — 

" To the memory of John, Duke of Marlborough 
and his two sons, his Duchess has erected this 
monument in the year of Christ, 1733," her own 
name being subsequently added. 

Their descendants occupied Marlborough House 
until the opening years of the present century. 
Then Prince Leopold, united for a brief period to 
the Heiress Apparent of the British throne, lived 


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312 Marlboratigh House. 

there for some years. Its next occupant was the 
gentle and amiable Queen Dowager Adelaide, who 
justly earned for herself the distinctive title of 
''Good." At her demise, an art collection, des- 
tined to develop into a noble museum of world- 
wide fame, found shelter beneath its roof. In the 
year 1863, it became the home of the Prince and 
Princess of Wales, and its old walls began to 
resound with the merry laughter of happy children. 
Much has changed since it was built England 
has developed into a mighty Empire, and a new 
era has dawned in every department of her national 
life. Unlike Marlborough's time, loyalty to the 
reigning dynasty, undisturbed by rival claimants to 
the throne, has now become universal in Great 
Britain and in that Greater Britain beyond the seas ; 
a loyalty evinced on countless occasions to all the 
branches of the Royal Family, but never with 
greater enthusiasm than when the beloved and 
popular occupants of Marlborough House, emerg- 
ing from their retirement, are seen in public by 
the Queen's subjects. 



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vV Wf.*. 

This book should be returned to 
the Library on or before the last date 
stamped below. 

A fine of Hve cents e day w incurred 
tlL" " *'*^°"** ^"^ specifled 

Please return prjimptly. 

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